FBI 'Stops' Yet Another Of Its Own Terrorist Threats

from the playing-dress-up dept

Well, there they go again. We’ve talked a bunch about how the FBI has gotten really good at stopping its own terrorist plots and they’ve gone and done it again. Right here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the FBI has gleefully announced how they’ve stopped an attempt to bomb a Bank of America building in Oakland. The details are familiar: random guy with no actual connection to terrorists, and no actual way to build a connection with terrorists, is taken in by an FBI undercover agent who works with him to build a “bomb” that was never a bomb. In other words, there was no plot. There was no bomb. There was just a bunch of undercover agents playing dressup, and one Joe Schmo who thought it was all real. Maybe next time, the FBI can turn it into a reality TV show on Spike. Ralph Garmin as… a fake terrorist. I’d watch it.

This all comes just a week after On the Media profiled a new book called Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War On Terrorism. That book appears to collect a bunch of these stories, talking about how this is a major effort in the FBI these days: making up fake terrorist plots in order to stop people they themselves convinced to take part in the “plots” and then generate big headlines around them:

The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terror shows how the FBI has, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than 15,000 informants whose primary purpose is to infiltrate Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots so that the bureau can then claim victory in the war on terror.

Think of just how many resources are wasted in entrapping random people, rather than stopping real crime. I don’t see how this makes us any safer at all. Frankly, it makes me a lot more terrified.

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Comments on “FBI 'Stops' Yet Another Of Its Own Terrorist Threats”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The purpose is for government agents to get paid to do nothing useful and to have an easy job of entertainment. Going after actual criminals and terrorists would require actual work and they don’t want to get paid to do any of that, they want to get paid to engage in harmless, non-dangerous entertaining activities that require no real work or thinking. The point is for them to take our money (and give us nothing useful in return).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: WOnderful;

Well, the police shot up the wrong truck here, it wasn’t even the right color, in an effort to go after someone.


They took the shoot first, ask questions later, approach instead of first giving the people in the truck a chance to come out with their hands up and identify themselves. They ended up shooting two women. The keystone cops, to serve and protect …

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

And eventually they will hit a patsy who is smarter than them, and they will have made material available for a real terrorist event to happen.
We’ll have hearings, public outcry, lip service, and not much else.

When you have to manufacturer the plots to stop the huge bad thing, it might be time to consider that the policies are wrong. We need to move past the fear of a soundbite calling our leaders “soft” on terrorism for daring to question these stupid invented ‘plots’. We need to focus much more on why specific groups are being targeted because of skin color or religious beliefs to appease a public sentiment crafted by our leaders blaming easy stereotypes rather than individuals responsible.

johnjac (profile) says:

Crime vs Intelligence goals

In the new book, “The Org” by Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan, they talk about how pre 9/11 the FBI had clear and measurable goals and objectives. Catch bad guys, and assit DOJ in winning cases.

Post 9/11 domestic intelligence became their #1 objective. The problem becomes how do you measure and reward staff for doing well at intelligence gathering? Compounding this was
*everyone in the agency has been hired and promoted based on their crime fighting skills not intelligence gathering skills
* because crime is mostly regional, offices are NOT used to working together

The book doesn’t talk about these fake plots, but I’m going to imagine that this is what crime fighters do to make it look like they are doing the work of domestic intelligence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Resources aren’t being wasted, because the point of these exercises isn’t to make the general population any safer. Thousands of years of history has shown that over time governments invariably shift towards a totalitarian/authoritarian form of control unless/until opposed by a countering force. As freedoms are slowly repealed, as is the case that is happening now, resistance will invariably build. The point of these exercises is to help hone the governments skill in ferreting out potential (early) supporters of the sort of people who led the American Revolution. Too many people seem to blissfully believe this can’t possibly happen in America, but the fact is, if you really look around, the symptoms are all there.

Thomas (profile) says:

Just shows...

that it’s a lot easier to find fake terrorists than to find real ones. After all, fake terrorists aren’t going to shoot you or blow things up. Has the FBI and DOJ become too cowardly to find actual terrorists or are there actually too few terrorists for the FBI to find? I keep thinking the DOJ doesn’t really care about keeping Americans safe anyway; only about promoting their own “success”.

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