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Thursday, 16 June 2016

The FBI Says Its Homegrown Terrorist Stings Are Nothing More Than A Proactive Fight Against 'Going Dark'


The New York Times is taking a look at the FBI's battle against terrorism (not the first time it's done this) -- namely, its near-total reliance on sting operations to round up would-be terrorists. As the Times' Eric Lichtblau points out, stings used to be a last-resort tactic. Now, it's standard operating procedure. Two out of every three terrorism prosecutions begin with undercover agents nudging citizens and immigrants toward acts of violence and "material support." In some cases, the FBI agents are doing all the work themselves.

The FBI, of course, maintains that these terrorists would have acted on their own without the agency's intercession -- even though it seems to be placing a rather heavy finger on the scale.
While F.B.I. officials say they are careful to avoid illegally entrapping suspects, their undercover operatives are far from bystanders. In recent investigations from Florida to California, agents have helped people suspected of being extremists acquire weapons, scope out bombing targets and find the best routes to Syria to join the Islamic State, records show.
According to the agency, this stuff that looks like entrapment is nothing more than expedience.
“We’re not going to wait for the person to mobilize on his own time line,” said Michael B. Steinbach, who leads the F.B.I.’s national security branch. He added that the F.B.I. could not afford to “just sit and wait knowing the individual is actively plotting.”
I guess this all depends on your definition of "actively plotting." In cases we've covered here (and mentioned in the NYT article), federal agents have done everything from script and film "declaration of intent" videos to purchase all of the supplies needed for a "terrorist attack" they planned from start to finish.

The rogues gallery compiled by the FBI over the past half-decade is hardly threatening. It includes senior citizens, mentally-disabled teens, would-be terrorists who weren't even threatening enough to get their mothers to give them back their passports, and an assortment of extremely-impressionable young men who were all talk and no action.

While the FBI maintains it's doing nothing wrong, former FBI agents and intelligence community members aren't so sure. 

Read more

See also:  

The Terror Industry (1)

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