FBI Turns A Man With Mental Health Issues Into A 'Terrorist,' Busts Him For Using The Internet

from the must-have-locked-up-all-the-real-terrorists-already dept

Another FBI counterterrorism “investigation” has turned someone with mental health issues into a potential long term tenant of the federal prison system. The arrest happened in August, but the documents related to the arrest weren’t unsealed until earlier this month.

This summation of events shows how little the FBI needs to do to get someone charged with a federal crime:

A Clarksville man has been arrested following an investigation by the FBI into ISIS-connected terrorist threats they say he made against the Clarksville Police Department and the Fort Campbell PX Exchange.

Jason Solomon Stokes, 41, was arrested Aug. 20 and charged with sending threatening communications interstate, a federal crime, according to documents unsealed today and obtained by Clarksville Now.

Using the internet for anything makes it “interstate,” which gives the feds jurisdiction. Stokes spoke about attacks in internet chat groups but never obtained anything needed to carry them out, like explosives or weapons. More details make it clear Stokes isn’t a dangerous terrorist, but rather someone who would have benefitted from some intercession from mental health professionals. The sad thing is the FBI agent who pursued the investigation knew this and just kept going until he could ring up Stokes on terrorism-related charges.

Agents accompanied by mental health professionals met with Stokes, who was being treated medically for schizoaffective disorder, according to the complaint. He was living with his mother in Summit Heights. Stokes admitted to making the posts but denied being violent and denied owning any weapons.

There was another visit later. And in that one, the mental health professional handed out a diagnosis… which was ignored by FBI agent Scot Sledd.

About a year and a half later, on about Nov. 5, 2019, the FBI was tipped that Stokes had made more terrorism-supporting statements. They again interviewed him and advised him to stop posting messages on social media. The mental health professionals advised that Stokes was not in crisis or a danger to himself or others, the documents said.

Five months later, Stokes was back in the ISIS-focused chat rooms talking about attacks again. And, again, he never showed interest in actually carrying them out. He backed out as the proposed attack date approached, saying he was worried about his elderly mother. He also failed to acquire weapons and ammunition to carry out the attack, offering to try again at some undetermined point in the future.

The criminal complaint makes it clear Stokes spent most of his time talking to FBI informants. And his “interviews” with Agent Sledd — accompanied by the mental health professional — were also part of the agency’s subterfuge. Sledd never identified himself as an FBI agent — a fact that may have made Stokes aware of the potential consequences of his online activities and perhaps pushed him away from engaging in these conversations.

Stokes’ online posts were first seen by one FBI informant. A second FBI informant initiated conversations with Stokes, hoping to secure a recording of Stokes pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. This led to a third informant pushing Stokes towards acquiring weapons. When the third informant set a date for the weapons delivery, Stokes backed out.

After that, Stokes never spoke to any of three informants the FBI set him up with. That was July 24, 2020. The FBI arrested him a month later, apparently deciding this month of silence was the perfect time to wrap up this pathetic “investigation” and pursue charges.

The FBI has not announced this arrest via its site. Neither has the DOJ. This suggests neither entity is especially proud of this takedown of a man suffering from mental health issues — issues the FBI ignored to rack up another cheap win. His online activities may have justified some additional scrutiny but when a mental health professional says someone isn’t a threat to himself or others, maybe the FBI should steer investigative resources towards people who actually are threats.

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Comments on “FBI Turns A Man With Mental Health Issues Into A 'Terrorist,' Busts Him For Using The Internet”

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'No fair, they're not following our playbook!'

"I imagine any real threat would be able to run circles around them at this point…"

Any "real threat" always has. Sometimes because the FBI was being inept about it but most oftenly because the FBI is a highly political animal. Bear 9/11 in mind;
The FBI knew there were saudi nationals in an extremist group hostile to the US, inside US borders.
The FBI knew these people were learning how to pilot airliners.
And the FBI were explicitly told to stay away from those people because they were all relatives and friends of prominent saudi families in very good standing with the saudi government and the US government.

That leaves the FBI to exercise their competence on either minor threats – people like the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh.
Lone crazies are notoriously difficult to predict until after the fact when everyone discovers just how much they talked about "Blowing up dem feds" on social media or in the chat channel of their favorite MMO.

The other threat is that of organized terrorist groups…
…and there the FBI seem to have the blind spot that after turning every group of crazies upside down and inside down trying to find the mysterious "Antifa" and other left-leaning hypothetical terrorist groups they have, very grudgingly, been forced to acknowledge that the real threat of internal terror comes from well armed alt-right militias training hard in homemade shooting ranges and kill houses so these Very Fine People can slaughter the "liberals", "leftists" and "damyankees" once they come for their guns, their wimmin, or to sell their kids to the satanic pedo ring run by the lizard lords of the NWO on behalf of "ze jews".

Honestly, the ineptitude of the FBI seems to mainly come from the fact that they really don’t want to go after the most obvious suspects because that’s too damn politically sensitive.
Far easier and less risky to just prod some religious non-christian basket case into some harebrained scheme, nab the man before the non-starter gets off the ground, and then lean into the adulation of the masses over a job well done.

Anonymous Coward says:

18 USC 875(c)

The Criminal Complaint alleges a violation of 18 USC 875(c)

Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

The plain text of the statute appears remarkably broad. On its face, the statute contains no elements of ‘knowledge’ or ‘willfullness’ such as were considered in Watts v United States (1969).

“Whoever transmits”, on its face, according to the bare text, could reach the conduct of a mailman, or a telephone switchboard operator. But a reach that far would clearly indicate congressional insanity?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 18 USC 875(c)

It also appears from the wording that this person’s behavior should by default result in a fine, not an arrest, unless it is determined there’s some sort of active threat. In this case, as they had determined he was not an active threat, they should be serving him with a fine. Which actually sounds somewhat reasonable, as it would be a bit of a wake-up call that he needs his meds adjusted/taken.

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Upstream (profile) says:

Re: 18 USC 875(c)

Mens Rea, or intent went out of fashion as a legal concept a long time ago. It was a slow death by a thousand cuts, but the immoral drug war put the final nail in it’s coffin when they started passing laws that said possession of more than a certain quantity of whatever automatically constituted "intent to distribute," with no actual evidence of actual intent required. "Intent to distribute" any proscribed substance was, and still is, always viewed as far more heinous than simple possession or use, and is therefor subject to much more draconian penalties. Actual intent is hard to prove (or manufacture / falsify), whereas mere possession of a certain over-the-limit quantity is not hard to prove (or manufacture / falsify).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 18 USC 875(c)

Mens Rea, or intent went out of fashion as a legal concept a long time ago.

US v Balint, decided back in 1922, relates:

While the general rule at common law was that the scienter was a necessary element in the indictment and proof of every crime, and this was followed in regard to statutory crimes even where the statutory definition did not in terms include it, there has been a modification of this view in respect to prosecutions under statutes the purpose of which would be obstructed by such a requirement. It is a question of legislative intent to be construed by the court.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, you seem to be intimating that it’s now “in fashion” to criminalize “Social Media Platform 1” for literally violating the plain text of this statute? That’s what’s intended, in a case like this one?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
TripMN (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hard to truly say until the details fully come out, but they don’t fit the MO.

The standard FBI created terrorist is a single person without any friends and usually some mental issues that the Feds can convince to do/say the wrong things to government plants so they can do the arresting.

The Whitmer plot appears to involve a small militia group that was planning amongst themselves and needed no outside coercion from the FBI. Therefore it doesn’t fit the MO of the FBI created terrorist suspect.

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'So long as we get a win we don't care what it takes.'

The FBI has not announced this arrest via its site. Neither has the DOJ. This suggests neither entity is especially proud of this takedown of a man suffering from mental health issues — issues the FBI ignored to rack up another cheap win.

And yet they still did it, so while they may not boast about this case specifically you can be damn sure that they’ll reference it in vague terms when it comes to justifying their budget(if not asking for more) or talking about how great they are at finding ‘terrorists’.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: "how great they are at finding terrorists"

That raises a point. Are they any good at finding terrorists they don’t gaslight and sting?

If the mission is still national security rather than law enforcement and they have found zero terrorists and do nothing else but failed / ignored investigations on election and campaigning fraud, it raises the question why we need FBI at all.

Because some of us are pretty sure law enforcement is too corrupt to reform through and though and we should abolish the whole thing.

Seriously, how is the FBI still useful?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Competiton

This is like geo-econo-political strategy 101. It’s a global world. Can’t fall behind.

Sorry. The Soviets haven’t existed for decades and the US hasn’t had a real leg in this race for years now.

The US is still puttering along because of inertia but even that’s starting to slow down. With a broken education system, the worst healthcare money can buy, a fully corrupt government, an oversized military still trying to play world police with 90% of the government’s annual budget, a fossil fuel dependent energy sector, over-focusing their entire economy on a service sector that ever increasing numbers of people are unable to afford, too big to fail businesses getting taxpayer bailouts while struggling taxpayers get the shaft, etc. It’s not even a close to a case of "catching up" anymore. The US would need major overhauls to remain viable in the coming decades. Overhauls that US politicians and even the US citizenry are unwilling to make.

If you want progress look toward Asia, Africa, and South America. The US is well on it’s way to irrelevance.

Wave Byby says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Competiton

Sadly, you nailed it.

I recall that Ross Perot said, just before dropping out as a presidential candidate because of threats to his family, that the “whooshing” sound one hears is the sound of jobs leaving America.

I also recall back during the mid-1980s – the scenes of the celebrating congress joyous at the passage of the first NAFTA bill ensuring the loss of USA jobs, and thinking they were myopic dullards focused on justifying their personal gains via “campaign contributions” and other payoffs.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Competiton

"So, the FBI is still useful to ensure that the Soviets don’t get ahead of the US."

That might have been true while the USSR still existed. Today there’s just Russia, a good friend and most generous ally of the man still in the white house today. They don’t have much need to send "operatives" behind "enemy lines" when all they need to do is send "honest businessmen" into what has for the last four years been a Putin Satellite State.

The FBI’s role in catching FSB operatives is no longer relevant. If the russians want info today they just start up zoom and ping their local republican representative of choice for the information.

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