Low Concept


Test your knowledge of the Jose Padilla trial.

The Jose Padilla trial opened this week in a Miami courthouse. In all the wild legal hoopla over fired federal prosecutors and Paris Hilton’s probation violation, you may not be totally up to speed on the trial of the “known terrorist” at the core of “an unfolding terrorist plot,” as then-Attorney General John Ashcroft once described him. But thus far the trial has been one heck of a show, full of intrigue, disguise, and green vegetables. Test your knowledge of it with our handy Padillapalooza quiz.


1. Jose Padilla has been accused by the Bush administration of being:

a) A “known terrorist
b) The “radioactive dirty bomb” maker
c) A lethal “apartment bomber
d) All of the above

2. Notwithstanding these terrible crimes, Jose Padilla is currently facing charges of:


a) Violating Chicago’s open container law
b)  Eating French fries on the Washington, D.C., subway
c) Conspiring to provide “inchoate” aid to unknown bad guys for an unnamed plot

3. How do you pronounce Padilla, anyhow?

a) Rhymes with “tortilla”
b) Rhymes with “vanilla”
c) First a, then b, then a again

4. The key piece of evidence in the Padilla trial will be:

a) His application to work at a McDonalds in Mumbai
b) His application to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan
c) His application to join Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas


5. Hundreds of hours of taped phone calls between Padilla and his confederates will reveal to jurors that Padilla was zealously engaged in an explicit plot to:

a) Detonate a radiological dirty bomb over a major American urban center
b) Explode U.S. apartment buildings
c) Send $3,500 to Lebanon to buy “zucchini
d) Send $429 to Syria to buy “spinach”

6. According to Padilla’s “smoking gun” employment application, he is highly skilled in the following lethal terrorist-style activities:

a) Working with complex radioactive chemicals
b) Converting, in the manner of television’s MacGyver, ordinary household zucchini into nuclear bombs
c) A complete mastery of the martial arts
d) Basic carpentry, which he would have used to further an elaborate al-Qaida plan to secretly take over all of America’s kitchen cabinets


7. The CIA agent who testified against Padilla this week did so under which assumed name:

a) McGruff the Crime Dog
b) James Bond
c) Tom Langston
d) Jose Padilla

8. That same key witness from the CIA also testified under a “ light disguise” consisting of:

a) Black-rimmed glasses and a closely cropped beard
b) Black-rimmed glasses with a fake plastic nose and moustache
c) A 9-foot Wookiee costume
d) A rubber Richard M. Nixon mask

9. Under “alternative interrogation techniques” al-Qaida mastermind Abu Zubaydah revealed to his interrogators that Jose Padilla claimed  he could separate plutonium from nuclear material by:

a) Putting the light plutoniums in one hamper and the dark ones in another
b) Waving his spangled Harry Potter wand while singing softly in Portuguese
c) Rapidly swinging over his head a bucket filled with fissionable material

Find out how you did.