FBI Bust Another Handcrafted 'Terrorist' For The Crime Of Thinking About Supporting A Terrorist Organization

from the snared-in-the-FBI's-(en)trap(ment) dept

The FBI’s string of thwarted, self-created terrorist plots continues unabated. Why look for terrorists when you can just craft them yourselves? Digital Fourth has the rundown on the latest “coup” by the agency.

The news this morning is full of the arrest of yet another American on charges of “attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.” Nobody’s suggesting that 20-year-old National Guardsman Nicholas Teausant of Acampo, CA is a terrorist, or that he provided any help whatsoever to terrorists, or that he was in contact, ever, with any actual terrorists. But, the media breathlessly report, he’s still facing charges that can put him in jail through to the 2030s.

The more you dig into the story, the more ridiculous it becomes. And Alex Marthews digs in deeply. The propellant (if you will) for this latest thwarted terrorist plot is little more than a campfire story.

Well, seems that he was on a camping trip sometime last year – or maybe not; investigators couldn’t corroborate that the camping trip ever happened – but anyway, afterwards, Teausant is reported to have said to some guy that he had been on a camping trip and had talked with friends about “blowing up the LA subway,” but that they hadn’t done anything because “they” had been “tipped off”.

Unfortunately for Teausant (but fortunately for America!), the “somebody” he relayed his camping conversation to was an FBI agent. Recognizing that Teausant needed a little more prodding to turn against his own nation, the agent connected him with a terrorist tutor of sorts (another FBI agent). This agent/mentor suggested Teausant travel to Canada to further radicalize and then sent more FBI agents to arrest him at the border. Voila, another terrorist attack thwarted.

Teausant is now facing charges of “attempting to provide material support” to a terrorist organization, a crime that seems to be treated just as severely as actually providing material support. As evidence of Teausant’s terrorist proclivities, agents cited posts to his “online photo account” which said such things as desiring to see America’s downfall and “I would love to join Allah’s Army but I don’t know where to start.”

They also cited the following evidence, which exposes the USA’s contradictory and arbitrary determination of who does and does not qualify as a terrorist.

Also, Teausant was apparently trying to figure out how to go to Syria and fight against Bashar al-Assad. This horrifying offense was committed at the same time that the US government was … trying to figure out how to go to Syria and fight against Bashar al-Assad. Last time I checked, Assad was a brutal dictator. But the winds have changed, and now that some of the people fighting against him are Sunni radicals inspired by, but actually repudiated by, al-Qaeda, I guess that makes Assad now a staunch American ally and defender of secular values?

Here’s some more of the government’s evidence.

The complaint said Teausant referred to himself as a convert to Islam but did not give details about when or why he may have done so. He met the informant through a mutual acquaintance, the document said.

Among Teausant’s plans was to appear in videos for the group, without covering his face — to be “the one white devil that leaves their face wide open to the camera,” he was quoted in the complaint as saying…

The complaint also states that Teausant told the informant he has an infant daughter, and had arranged for his mother to get custody of the girl if he disappeared.

At one point, the informant questioned him about whether he was serious about his plans, given that he talked a lot but did not seem to follow through.

So, while there are indications that Teausant could have wandered down the path into Islamic radicalism, at the point he was arrested he had done little more than talk smack around the campfire with some other young men (Teausant is only 20) and talk further smack with undercover agents. But as usual, it looks as though the FBI had to do most of the legwork to convert this person into a potential terrorist. It was the FBI, not Teausant, that arranged to get him an “application” to join a violent Al-Qaeda-linked group. It was the FBI that pushed him towards Canada to further his terrorist education. And it was the FBI that convinced itself that Teausant was enough of threat to lock up for a potential 15 years, even though he had never actually “provided material support” to a terrorist organization.

The FBI now gets to chalk up another win in the “terrorist captured” column despite having done little more than arrest a guy who talked a lot, but wasn’t big on following through. Sure, there’s always a chance Teausant would have done all of this on his own, but rather than sit back and keep an eye on him, the FBI proactively made his moves for him… and arrested him for following the undercover agents’ bidding.

Marthews points out how completely bizarre this is in a land where free speech is considered a right.

In a more sensible legal environment, Teausant would walk free because, let me think now, because we have a First Amendment and he is entitled to say whatever dumb thing he wants to so long as he doesn’t actually harm anyone, and the FBI informant and agent would be being charged with entrapment.

That’s the way it should work, but that’s not the way it does work. The counterterrorism money train comes off the rails if government agencies fail to capture terrorists. So, rather than restrict themselves to investigating terrorist organizations and sniffing out plots, the FBI has chosen to pad the books with ringers. Teausant may have made some poor decisions and said some unwise things, but even the FBI’s preponderance of evidence fails to portray him as much more than a dumb kid with stupider dreams. And rather than allow the events to play out, and possibly expose the FBI’s alleged terrorist sympathizer as an ineffectual pretender, it set him up for a date with the penal system. All the while, the accolades and money keep rolling in, ensuring the FBI’s terrorist manufacturing apparatus will keep humming smoothly.

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Comments on “FBI Bust Another Handcrafted 'Terrorist' For The Crime Of Thinking About Supporting A Terrorist Organization”

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Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Some of the quotes from U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright are pretty good:
“Society does not win when the Government stoops to the same level as the defendants it seeks to prosecute ? especially when the Government has acted solely to achieve a conviction for a made-up crime.”

“The time has come to remind the Executive Branch that the Constitution charges it with law enforcement ? not crime creation. A reverse-sting operation like this one transcends the bounds of due process and makes the Government the oppressor of its people.”

“Zero. That’s the amount of drugs that the Government has taken off the streets as the result of this case and the hundreds of other fake stash-house cases around the country. That’s the problem with creating crime: the Government is not making the country any safer or reducing the actual flow of drugs.”

Baron von Robber says:

Old but funny

Weapons of Math Instruction and Al-Gebra Movement
A public school teacher was arrested today at John F.Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement.

He did not identify the man , who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

“Al-gebra is a problem for us,” Gonzales said. “They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like ‘x’ and ‘y’ and refer to themselves as ‘unknowns’, but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isos Celes used to say, ‘There are 3 sides to every triangle’.”

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.”

White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President.

zip says:

The FBI has to create these imaginary terrorists to try to make up for the real ones they failed to catch. Most recently, when Russia’s SVR Intelligence agency specifically warned the FBI about a Chechen named Tsarnaev who they’d been watching closely for a long time. But the FBI chose to brush off the warning (since Chechen terrorists only kill Russians, right?) and the Boston Marathon Bombing happened as a result.

But that’s OK, since the FBI has saved us from so many other terrorists – a process which they gladly repeat and publicize ad nauseum.

Who Me? says:

Re: Failure to detect, apprehend, be accountable

A couple of thoughts: The FBI (Federal Bunch of Idiots – with guns) failed to catch one of their own, by the name of John Walker, a senior agent who spied for the former Soviets (or was it China?) for 30 years!! All the while, living large while an agent for the FBI. After three decades, the Feds got suspicious and curtailed his activities (and income).

Didn’t they originate the so-called “person of interest” tag to harass innocents, like the fellow named Richard Jewell, who detected/reported/prevented a bomb in Atlanta, Georgia a number of years ago, only to find out after a couple of years that Richard Jewell was innocent of being a “person of interest,” as another man (who was involved in destroying selected medical clinics and hiding out in the piney woods for a couple of years). Meanwhile, Richard Jewell’s life was destroyed (thanks FBI) for doing his job – an honest, courageous security officer. (Jewell died a couple of years later.)

Then there was the sniper execution by the FBI of a woman standing on her front porch while holding her baby in her arms (a remote mountain cabin), not knowing a sniper was in the trees. Her crime? Her husband was wanted on a weapons charge (and rifle with a shortened barrell). There was a trial. No wrong doing. How does that work? (Kind of like the Kent State muderers under color of authority were found to be innocent of shooting unarmed protesters of the Vietnam war).

I think I would rather take my chances with the thugs. They are, overall, less destructive/deadly/etc.

But, the fed folks are good at sting operations geared toward the gullible and less intelligent/mature members of the population.

Anyone who has done their homework knows that, even though there are/were a few good agents, the original leadership was bent (more like crooked) morally and criminally (in participation in and covering up various crimes, including blackmail, murder… in the interest of preventing knowledge/panic in the great unwashed, i.e., us). To them, the ends justify the fumbling, bumbling, criminal means.

Creatures of the gubmint who are supposed to uphold the law don’t even know the law, or think it doesn’t apply to them -the guys with the big guns acting acting like big swinging… oh, nevermind. Er, nothing to see here. Move along.

zip says:

Re: Re: Failure to detect, apprehend, be accountable

“Then there was the sniper execution by the FBI of a woman standing on her front porch while holding her baby in her arms (a remote mountain cabin), not knowing a sniper was in the trees. Her crime? Her husband was wanted on a weapons charge (and rifle with a shortened barrell). There was a trial. No wrong doing. How does that work?”

The FBI setup of Randy Weaver was perhaps the agency’s biggest “sting operation” failure ever. At least a jury could agree that his sole “crime” of modifying a neighbor’s shotgun (who was actually working for the FBI) to a fraction of an inch below the 18″ legal minimum was not a crime worthy of an assault by a deadly swat-team paramilitary force.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Devil’s advocate here, but I disagree with the accusation of entrapment in the last quote. Yes, what the FBI did is ridiculous, but Teausant willingly followed the advice of the FBI undercover agent by saying “Yes, I’ll go to Canada to learn more about how to conduct terrorism”. The article says he was stopped at the border. By showing he was willing to follow through on the plan, even though yes it was a plan that began and ended with the FBI, he became a criminal.
I finish this off by saying, no, I’m not a lawyer, and this is just my opinion.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The article says he was stopped at the border.”

So he never actually took any lessons on how to be a terrorist and certainly did not get his diploma, and he never did actually even get to go the Canadian School of International Bad Guys…. all he did was cross the border….

Well there you go. Cut and dried case.
Going to Canada is a very serious crime!!
Hang the bastard!!

What’s the charge again?

Conspiring to Commit Conspiracy??

Anonymous Reader says:

Re: To Rikuo in Devil's advocate

“but Teausant willingly followed the advice of the FBI undercover agent by saying “Yes, I’ll go to Canada to learn more about how to conduct terrorism”. The article says he was stopped at the border. By showing he was willing to follow through on the plan”

But this is the problem in a nutshell: It is not, or at least should not be, illegal or even a ‘plan’ to learn about how to do something — and then decide. If a tree falls and there’s nobody around — does it make a sound; corollary: if a guy says he’s willing to go learn about something from someone who doesn’t even exist, is he going to meet anyone at all — and chances are if he got stood up, you don’t think he’d have just gone right on home and said ‘f*ck this’?

People have stopped realising that talk isn’t action, and action isn’t just talk. And this is nothing like an edge case that might fall under ‘incitement’ on his part either — it seems it was totally between himself and federal agents. 20 year olds are generally out for adventure — the idea of danger. Most don’t actually follow through. This isn’t following through — this is or was likely just a desire to get a thrill. An expensive desire for the guy, at that.

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