FBI Successful In Breaking Up Yet Another Of Its Own Plots To Bomb The US
from the what-an-amazing-track-record dept
We’ve discussed this a few times in the past, but the FBI’s main counter-terrorism initiative these days appears to be centered around creating its own terrorist plots to thwart. First, they find clueless, easily manipulated people (frequently young and Muslim), who have no actual connections with terrorists. Then, they concoct entire terrorism plots, where every other person is an FBI agent, and any tools, “weapons” and money are supplied by the FBI. Finally, they “bust” the guy just before he carries out the plot that never would have happened anyway, because it’s not like the FBI would supply the actual weapons. We see this pattern again and again — and each time the press uncritically hypes up how the FBI successfully stopped a real “homegrown” terrorist.
Of course, it’s happened once again, and the basic plotlines are identical to ones in the past. And, of course, the press is describing it like it was an actual terrorist plot, pretending that people was actually at risk. Glenn Greenwald’s summary of this and other cases is pretty spot on:
None of these cases entail the FBI’s learning of an actual plot and then infiltrating it to stop it. They all involve the FBI’s purposely seeking out Muslims (typically young and impressionable ones) whom they think harbor animosity toward the U.S. and who therefore can be induced to launch an attack despite having never taken even a single step toward doing so before the FBI targeted them. Each time the FBI announces it has disrupted its own plot, press coverage is predictably hysterical (new Homegrown Terrorist caught!), fear levels predictably rise, and new security measures are often implemented in response (the FBI’s Terror plot aimed at the D.C. Metro, for instance, led to the Metro Police announcing a new policy of random searches of passengers’ bags).
Now, I’m sure some will argue that these efforts highlight those who may be pre-disposed to taking part in such activities if given the chance for real. But in the US, I thought we didn’t believe in arresting people for crimes that they’re pre-disposed to doing if they haven’t actually done them. On top of that, with the FBI providing most of the actual plot here, it’s difficult to see how this isn’t a classical case of entrapment. Finally, it’s not clear what good this really does. Putting people who had no real means of attacking the US in jail isn’t likely to scare off anyone else.
It also makes you wonder if the FBI shouldn’t be spending more time trying to stop actual plots that involve people who have the means to actually hurt people, rather than these plots which have exactly 0% chance of causing any harm.