FBI Turns 18-Year-Old With An IQ Of 51 Into A Terrorist; Dumps Case Into Laps Of Local Prosecutors

from the truly,-the-A-bomb-drop-of-the-War-on-Terror dept

Another would-be terrorist is in the hands of law enforcement, thanks to a joint effort by the FBI and the St. Clair (Alabama) Sheriff's Department. (h/t The Free Thought Project)

An Alabama prosecutor says an 18-year-old has been charged with soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism, though details of the case aren't being released.

St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said Tuesday that 18-year-old Peyton Pruitt of St. Clair County was arrested and charged Friday.
County Judge Alan Furr set Pruitt's bail at $1 million and refused to lower it, despite evidence surfacing that the young man is developmentally-disabled (IQ estimated at 52-58, last tested at 51) and the total amount of "support" was "less than $1,000" -- a Class C felony, which normally results in much lower bail amounts. (The guidelines in the state's criminal procedure rules suggest a $5,000-$15,000 range, although judges are free to depart from this recommendation.)

Judge Alan Furr must not like alleged terrorist sympathizers. Two accused murderers and a teacher charged with sexual misconduct involving a student who previously faced Judge Furr combined for less than half the amount set for Pruitt ($450,000).

This is the dangerous terrorist now behind bars.
Witnesses, friends and family members uniformly described Pruitt as a "child" - a teenager with an IQ of 51 who cannot tie his own shoes, soils his clothes, has little verbal skills and lacks the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy.
The FBI, which has never shown any reluctance to trumpet its ability to push mentally-challenged people towards acts of terrorism, doesn't have much to say about this particular bust. It seems content to let local law enforcement run with this one, bringing state charges rather than federal. But it's still behind the elevation of Pruitt from a guy who needs assistance using the restroom to a guy who provides assistance to enemies of the United States.
Chief Investigator Tommy Dixon testified, reading from an FBI transcript of a four-hour interview on Nov. 13 with Pruitt, that the teenager expressed sympathy with Islam and shared information on how to construct bombs that he obtained from Inspire, an online magazine linked to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. To access the information, Pruitt referred them to a Wicr [sic] account, an encrypted instant messaging application.

Dixon said Pruitt had told the FBI "he would be happy" if acts of terrorism were carried out. "He felt it would be understandable," he said. He also suggested targets for terrorism, including the CIA headquarters, police stations and "big events" such as football games, Dixon said.
Beyond quoting from FBI interview transcripts, local prosecutors and law enforcement have said nothing about the case. They claim they can't jeopardize an ongoing information. But it appears they may not actually be in possession of much more than what the FBI has handed them, which may not be everything it has.
Under repeated questions from Pruitt's attorney Gibson Holladay, Dixon said his testimony came from the FBI transcript and not any first hand evidence. Holladay also questioned the logic of charging Pruitt with soliciting material support for a terrorist act by reading the statute and asking if Pruitt had provided a safe house, or false documents, or money, or transportation to terrorists. Dixon said he had no knowledge of whether he had or hadn't. Prosecutors objected to the questions.

"All you've got is Peyton's statement, right?" Holladay said. "You couldn't tell me if Peyton contacted Santa Claus or a terrorist, can you? Was it a bomb or a recipe for banana pudding? You don't know, do you?"
It certainly looks like the FBI realized it has a potential PR nightmare on its hands and somehow persuaded the locals to take the case. The agency is refusing to answer any questions, referring all queries to the St. Clair County District Attorney's office.

The few things local prosecutors have actually said -- that aren't direct quotes from FBI paperwork -- have been completely ridiculous.
Dixon said in his testimony that the FBI is still reviewing Pruitt's computer. But several of Minor's questions suggested other evidence. During Waldrop's testimony, Minor asked if she would be surprised to learn Pruitt had used an encrypted website, she said yes.

Reading statements, he asked, "Would it surprise you that he can quote the Koran?" She said yes.
Both perfectly legal acts. I use an "encrypted website." (This apparently refers to Wickr, suggesting prosecutors really have no idea what they're actually dealing with.) I use Wickr and can quote from religious texts (even the unpopular ones). So what? Even combined, these two things add up to nothing. But these prosecutors are trying desperately to make both acts sound ominous and supportive of their assertions that an 18-year-old incapable of tying his own shoelaces posed a legitimate threat to those around him and, indeed, the security of the nation.

Thanks to the same judge who refused to lower Pruitt's bail, prosecutors won't have to face any tough questions in the immediate future.
A St. Clair County judge sent the case of a teenager accused of soliciting support for a terrorist act onto a grand jury as part of a two-hour preliminary hearing in Pell City today.
This is the normal chain of events for serious felonies in Alabama, but one that will allow the prosecutors to present the FBI's evidence without being challenged by incredulous defense attorneys or distracted by the sight of the defendant silently "rocking back and forth" while the next 1-10 years of his life are discussed.

From here, it looks as though the FBI has finally developed a sense of shame and has chosen to ditch this turdball with local prosecutors. Unfortunately, its sense of shame hasn't compelled it to drop the case or otherwise dissuade far-too-enthusiastic prosecutors from pursuing this further. Both ISIS and the FBI have a fondness for "useful idiots," but neither should actually find anything useful in a person who's mentally unable to handle their own bodily functions, much less contribute to a terrorist group in any meaningful way.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 9:22am

    "No Mam, we at the FBI do not have a sense of shame that we are aware of."

    From here, it looks as though the FBI has finally developed a sense of shame and has chosen to ditch this turdball with local prosecutors.

    Shame? Please, you're talking about scum that threw a mental child into the legal meatgrinder, the only reason they are trying to distance themselves from it is that someone in the agency had two brain-cells knock together and realized that if they tried to use this to trumpet how 'effective' their 'anti-terrorism' efforts are, if someone did any investigation the FBI would come out looking all kinds of terrible.

    They didn't have any sense of shame when they set the kid up, they don't have any now, the only thing they do have is a survival instinct and a realization that they can't use this case for their own gains without risking a PR nightmare. That is the only reason they dropped it on the locals(who apparently don't share the FBI's survival instinct, or just flat out don't care who's life they ruin so long as they can score a conviction), it has nothing to do with 'shame'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 3:39am

      Re: "No Mam, we at the FBI do not have a sense of shame that we are aware of."

      So along with breastfeeding milk, a toy gun, an ornamental bomb, disabled people and others we can add mentally disabled to the list of terrorists in the US. And we accuse ISIS or whatever you call them of cruelty, lack of humanity etc etc. Really.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lurker Keith, 7 Jan 2016 @ 3:34am

    When did investigation's spelling change?

    They claim they can't jeopardize an ongoing information.
    This is a new one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 3:44am

    Those who commit or would commit acts of terrorism are less of a danger to society than those who convince them it is desirable to commit those acts. Many who would or do carry out the acts would not have done so if not set into motion by those who would use them for their own political objectives.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lisboeta, 7 Jan 2016 @ 4:02am

    I keep thinking that the alphabet soup couldn't possibly plumb lower depths. And then this....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 4:15am

      Re:

      Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies ... those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. - C. S. Lewis

      When you've fooled yourself into thinking that you're 'on the side of good', or the only thing you care about is numbers such as 'how many 'terrorists' do we have to 'stop' to keep our current budget?', then anything, no matter how atrocious, becomes acceptable.

      As the various government agencies have shown, there is nothing they will not do, no atrocity they will not commit should they have the capability to do so, and no depth they will not sink to, so long as it benefits them and/or they can convince themselves that it's 'for the greater good'. Having any expectations of them higher than that is just setting yourself up for disappointment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      It's only going to get worse from here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        GEMont (profile), 8 Jan 2016 @ 2:33pm

        Re: Re:

        "It's only going to get worse from here."

        Oh, it has already gotten much, much worse.

        Its just that we only see the tiniest tip of this iceberg and only occasionally, because the Truth Free Press seldom reports real events, for fear that their corporate sponsors might withdraw their monetary support. Reports like this are only examined by the lesser press - the "fringe".

        But rest assured that for every event like this that rises to the surface of the chamber pot that is modern America, hundreds more go entirely unreported every day and never enter public awareness at all.

        ---

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 4:35am

    Look at our amazing highway of good intentions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TRX (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 4:57am

    An IQ of 51 (or 58), and he's still able to read?

    That must be a different system from the Stanford-Binet scale I learned decades ago in Psych 101.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      HE does whatever the FBI says he can, but when asked to prove it that's national security apparently and cannot be proved otherwise you are supporting terrorism.

      Lets just say what we are probably thinking. The FBI are Nazis.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Groaker (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 1:53pm

      Re: IQ

      Intellectual capacity is complex, and its measurement is not particularly meaningful in any precise sense. Not does it predict behavioral capabilities.

      I once knew a severe Downs who could not take care of herself. So severe that she could not speak under most circumstances. But she taught herself to read from her father's law books. We used to say that was what caused her difficulties. It was assumed that she was engaging in mimicry until someone noticed that she always held the books up the right way.

      An example: If she was asked what she wanted for dessert (ice cream was the standard nightly fare,) she could not reply. But if asked again with the words ice cream written on a piece of paper in front of her, she could then say "ice cream." Clearly part of her problem was I/O.

      In short, IQ does not necessarily correlate with the level of skills and abilities. There are often great surprises, especially at both ends of the spectrum.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Adam (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 5:27am

    Ah, the plan flushes out...

    More support for mental illness to stop acts of violence apparently translates into "more money for jail cells".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 5:56am

    So much for the idea that only the smart ones use encryption

    This is a true milestone for usable crypto.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    scatman09 (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 6:13am

    sad

    just sad

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 7:05am

    Here's some perspective

    According to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation:

    "In people with Down syndrome, 39.4% are in the mild intellectual disability range of 50-70, and 1% in the borderline intellectual function range of 70-80 (average IQ in the general population is 70-130)."

    I'm not saying this kid has Down Syndrome but now people can have an idea of what this kid's IQ is and the government is trying to make him an example. It's truly disgusting.

    http://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/about-down-syndrome/facts-about-down-syndrome/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 7:57am

      Re: Here's some perspective

      Not just Downs, but Autism could apply too.


      Here's the kicker: the court will likely (or at least should) find the defendant NOT competent enough to stand trial. Especially if there is a court appointed guardian.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 9:13am

        Re: Re: Here's some perspective

        The entire case should have been thrown out already due to how completely insane and warped it is, but the fact that the judge not only hasn't thrown it out, but set bail twice as high as the combined bail amounts for 'Two accused murderers and a teacher charged with sexual misconduct involving a student' indicates that both prosecution and the judge don't give a damn about justice, they just want to be able to brag about the 'terrorist' they threw in jail.

        Bad enough that the FBI is staffed with sociopaths who don't give a damn how many lives they ruin in their attempt to justify their budget, to have a judge and prosecutor not only take the case but run with it indicates all of them are disgusting excuses for 'professionals'.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 7:32am

    Kidding/not kidding

    Both perfectly legal acts. I use an "encrypted website." (This apparently refers to Wickr, suggesting prosecutors really have no idea what they're actually dealing with.) I use Wickr and can quote from religious texts (even the unpopular ones).
    Karl, do you think that if the government ever decided to come after you that they would *not* use this information against you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 8:28am

    WHAT THE F**K IS WRONG WITH THESE (FBI, PROSECUTORS, JUDGES) PEOPLE??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 8:39am

    I wonder how it will go in court.

    My guess is that the procecutors will go the Rainman Road: "Did you see that movie about that guy, who could count like a million toothpicks in a second flat and remember an entire phonebook... Imagine what terrorists could do with that"
    If that fails they will try to convince the court that the kid has been a terrorist sympathizer since birth and that he just faked his way through all the IQ tests.

    That is how cartoonishly warped I see this whole hunt for terrorists today.
    It would be funny if not for the fact that it involves real people who gets their lives destroyed by zealots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 8:43am

    a Scapegoat. Used to make the tough on terrorism acts look good.

    The real terrorists are the ones setting up their fellow citizens to get rewarded.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lord_Unseen (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 9:16am

    Hey! I'm using an encrypted site right now! Does that make me a terrorist?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 10:50am

      Re:

      Well, it MIGHT indicate some level of intelligence, I guess. Except that you don't even need to know that a website is encrypted to use it, so that's totally invalid. You may as well just say he was using "a website".

      Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia are encrypted to at least some degree. Amazon... is not encrypted if you're just browsing? Huh. Techdirt, of course, is encrypted. The public FBI website is encrypted, and so is the White House website. The home pages of my congressman and senators are not encrypted, but they all have encrypted pages for things like scheduling meetings or taking surveys. Unless you were looking or you got a warning from your browser, you wouldn't even realize when you switched.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 9:24am

    I always wondered how fucking pathetic and awful something would have to be for me not to want to make a joke about it. Now I know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 7 Jan 2016 @ 9:27am

    It seems the FBI finally found a "terrorist" they could outsmart...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 9:31am

    sooo lets recap

    Use Encrypted websites - check
    Can quote religious text - check
    Has lower developmental IQ compared to Adults thier biological age - Check



    That list also includes:

    Law Enforcement (notably FOP)
    Congressment (Particularly Republicans)
    ANY Judge in the State of Alabama

    QUICK, they are all Terrorists! Round them up and stuff them in jails!

    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    You are being watched (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 9:51am

    Peyton Pruitt is the very model of genius when stacked next to law enforcement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 10:10am

    DON'T BE FOOLED!!

    This GENIUS spent YEARS crapping his pants and acting retarded just so that one day he could get away with the next 9/11. He's so good that his parents, his teachers, not even the doctors can tell he's acting! But THANK GOD the FBI is diligently watching out for all us.

    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JustMe (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 11:03am

    Find me some place, any place

    That doesn't have this level of institutionalized stupidity and I'll move there. The last 'FBI Win' a week ago was a dude that needed a ride to Walmart AND a loan of $40 from the CI to purchase the 'terror' supplies.

    And yet, the Feds didn't know about Tim McVey, the first Twin Towers attack, the USS Cole in 2000, the 9/11 bombers, the London subway people, Charlie Hebdo (on this anniversary day), the Paris Opera, or California last month.

    While I get that they need to maintain OpSec and CIs and methods how about freaking just stopping something for once? Or at least proving to us that you stopped people who were CAPABLE of something, unlike this poor soul who needs help just to function.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 11:36am

    I hope they do what Herod did, send him back to Pontius Pilate. Let the damned Romans bloody their own hands, again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2016 @ 12:33pm

    I would never assume that just because someone is disabled that they couldn't be a criminal, but this drips with the FBI terrorist-busting malfeasance that we've seen before.

    And there's no evidence that this process would work on someone who's actually working towards a terrorist act.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 1:22pm

    "Witnesses, friends and family members uniformly described Pruitt as a "child" - a teenager with an IQ of 51 who cannot tie his own shoes, soils his clothes, has little verbal skills and lacks the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy."

    I am truly shocked that the FBI admitted that one of their own was a terrorist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    uberfrood (profile), 7 Jan 2016 @ 1:28pm

    What actual support do they say he provided? Less than $1000, but what specifically?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2016 @ 1:31am

    To the FBI agents this poor kid must seem like a genius

    "FBI Turns 18-Year-Old With An IQ Of 51 Into A Terrorist"

    Hey, why not? That's apparently all it takes to turn someone into an FBI agent.


    "I used to have a little terr'ist, but he don't bomb no more."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 8 Jan 2016 @ 12:16pm

    Tell a lie often enough and it becomes history.

    I'd love to see a transcript of FOX news' version of this event. I'd wager the lad's IQ and mental incapacity are never mentioned.

    And once again, the hard-of-thinking will go to bed saying "lord be praised", knowing their heroes at the FBI saved their worthless butts from another "muzlum terrist".

    Propaganda is only effective when its regularly repeated after all.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tom Lehrer, 12 Jan 2016 @ 4:32am

    We'll try to stay serene and calm
    when Alabama gets the bomb

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer
Anonymous number for texting and calling from Hushed. $25 lifetime membership, use code TECHDIRT25
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.