Report: All But Four Of The High-Profile Domestic Terrorism Plots In The Last Decade Were Crafted From The Ground Up By The FBI
from the the-FBI:-rolling-its-own-since-2001 dept
Human Rights Watch has just published a report containing the facts needed to back up everyone’s suspicions that the FBI counterterrorism efforts are almost solely composed of breaking up “plots” of its own design. And the bigger and more high-profile the “bust” was, the better the chance that FBI agents laid the foundation, constructed the walls… basically did everything but allow the devised plot to reach its designed conclusion. (via Reason)
All of the high-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade, with four exceptions, were actually FBI sting operations—plots conducted with the direct involvement of law enforcement informants or agents, including plots that were proposed or led by informants. According to multiple studies, nearly 50 percent of the more than 500 federal counterterrorism convictions resulted from informant-based cases; almost 30 percent of those cases were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.
Of those four exceptions, two (Boston Bombing/LAX shooting) were successfully pulled off. Feeling safer with the g-men’s increased focus on preventing terrorist attacks?
Within the report is even more damning information that shows the FBI preyed on weak individuals in order to rack up “wins” in the War on Terror.
Although an FBI agent even told Ferdaus’ father his son “obviously” had mental health problems, the FBI targeted him for a sting operation, sending an informant into Ferdaus’ mosque. Together, the FBI informant and Ferdaus devised a plan to attack the Pentagon and US Capitol, with the FBI providing fake weaponry and funding Ferdaus’ travel. Yet Ferdaus was mentally and physically deteriorating as the fake plot unfolded, suffering weight loss so severe his cheek bones protruded, loss of bladder control that left him wearing diapers, and depression and seizures so bad his father quit his job to care for Ferdaus. He was eventually sentenced on material support for terrorism and explosives charges to 17 years in prison with an additional 10 years of supervised release.
Those that weren’t weak enough were broken.
Abu Ali, a US citizen, was swept up in a mass arrest campaign in Saudi Arabia in 2003. Ali alleged being whipped, denied food, and threatened with amputation, and ultimately provided a confession he says was false to Saudi interrogators.
Ali was given a life sentence and is currently serving it at a Supermax prison.
Uzair Paracha was held in solitary confinement for nearly two years before he was convicted on charges of material support. Nine months after his arrest and while he was refusing to take a plea deal, the federal government moved Paracha to a harsh regime of solitary confinement pursuant to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs)—special restrictions on his contact with others imposed on the grounds of protecting national security or preventing disclosure of classified material—ostensibly due to ties with Al-Qaeda. For a time, Paracha was only permitted to speak to prison guards.
As much as the DHS and FBI have stated concerns about “radicalization” and domestic terrorism, those captured in FBI sting operations were strongly pushed in that direction by informants and undercover agents. The FBI created threats where none existed.
In many of the sting operations we examined, informants and undercover agents carefully laid out an ideological basis for a proposed terrorist attack, and then provided investigative targets with a range of options and the weapons necessary to carry out the attack. Instead of beginning a sting at the point where the target had expressed an interest in engaging in illegal conduct, many terrorism sting operations that we investigated facilitated or invented the target’s willingness to act before presenting the tangible opportunity to do so. In this way, the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals.
This sort of activity should have been treated as “own goals” by the agency and some of the more credulous press. Instead, these busts are touted as evidence of the agency’s superior skill and effort, something more closely related to extolling the prowess of someone who has just scored on an empty net.
The FBI took a man whose main hobbies were “watching cartoons” and “playing Pokemon,” a man who a forensic psychologist described (during the trial) as “highly susceptible to the suggestions of others” and fashioned him into a supposed terrorist. The planned subway bombing never happened, thanks to the FBI’s keenly-honed ability to capture terrorists it created. Arrested with the would-be subway bomber was his “co-conspirator,” a high school dropout with drug problems and clinically-diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia.
There’s much, much more in the report. Human Rights Watch’s investigative work was made extremely difficult by the FBI’s disingenuous counterterrorism efforts over the last decade, which made many in the Muslim communities affected deeply suspicious of people who asked too many questions.
There’s nothing to celebrate about victories like these. The emphasis on creating plots just to shut them down diverts resources from actual threats — ones arising without huge amounts of FBI prompting. All this does is ensure the agency’s anti-terror funding remains intact — money that will be largely wasted on the FBI’s sting operation Ouroboros. And while the FBI plays with its terrorist dress-up dolls, the real threats will go undetected.