Yet Another Of The FBI's Own Terrorist Plots... Involves A Group Of Senior Citizens

from the grump-old-terrorists dept

The latest Radiolab "shorts" episode, entitled Grumpy Old Terrorists, seems like a bit of a departure in subject matter for that program -- but fits right in with something we've been talking a lot about lately. Over the past few years, we've noticed the rather disturbing trend in how the FBI keeps publicly celebrating stories about stopping terrorist plots -- but in almost every case the details show that it was actually just stopping its own terrorist plots that it feeds to hapless individuals, often nudging them and pushing them down the road to "become" terrorists, despite commonly displaying little to no aptitude for actual terrorism.

In the last few weeks, the mainstream press has started to notice this as well, with stories about it appearing in both the NY Times and Rolling Stone. However, the Radiolab episode highlights a similar, but slightly different story, that was actually covered in great detail in an article in Esquire a few months back, entitled Waffle House Terrorists -- which includes the mugshots of the four "terrorists."

The youngest one of that bunch is 65-years old. The oldest is 73. As the Radiolab episode and the Esquire piece detail, while these guys do seem hateful, they also seemed absolutely unable to do anything... until an "FBI informant" joined their pack and pushed and prodded them along, introducing them to the "contacts" to get weapons and even providing "the money" to buy said weapons. The Esquire article goes into great detail about the "informant" and his rather questionable legal history (he first contacted the FBI while in jail for molesting his wife's daughter from a previous marriage).

On Radiolab, they play the audiotapes the guy made of the plotting -- and there's obviously some crazy stuff being said. But, as they look deeper into the role of the informant, the Radiolab hosts conclude the episode by noting that the whole situation doesn't really make them feel any safer. Yes, these old guys were hateful and helped join in this plan to cause lots of death and destruction. But, so much much of the plot and the participation of these guys really does seem driven by the "informant," who does not seem like the most credible of guys. And it's this exact scenario that we keep seeing over and over again. It may not reach the level of entrapment, and it may put some people really ignorant and crazy people in jail -- but is this really the best use of the FBI's time and efforts? Creating bogus "terrorist" plots involving people who had no real means to actually do anything?

Filed Under: entrapment, fbi, informant, terrorism


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2012 @ 8:52am

    All About Intent

    Consider four types of groups:

    Group-1:
    No intent to commit terrorists acts - No capability (knowledge & resources).
    Just regular folks.

    Group-2:
    No intent - Has capability
    Regular folks with the knowledge and resources needed to carry out a terrorist attack, but no intent to do so.

    Group-3:
    Has intent - No capability
    Wannabee terrorists, but clueless as to how to proceed.

    Group-4:
    Has intent - Has capability.
    Terrorists!

    I believe the FBI would be happy to go after Group 4, is not interested in Group 1, uses Group 2 as subject matter experts, and convinces Group 3 that they have acquired capability (when they have not) then pounces on them.

    It is the prexisting intent of those in Group 3 that gets them into trouble. The FBI is just making sure they don't become members of Group 4 - good job!

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