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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

FBI Policy Of Manufacturing Terrorism Plots Reaffirmed By Appeals Court



The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that provides further support for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its policy of inducing individuals, typically Muslims, to plot acts of terrorism. The appeals court additionally backed the outcome of the notorious FBI sting operation against the Newburgh Four.
Mohamed Mohamud is a young Somali American man who was convicted of attempting to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon, after he was targeted in an FBI sting operation. He is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence.

His defense appealed a district court decision that affirmed his conviction. They challenged the fact that Mohamud’s “defense of entrapment” was rejected. They also challenged a district court’s decision not to suppress information collected through surveillance under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

At trial, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals notes [PDF], Mohamud’s defense maintained a “teenager with no criminal record had neither the means nor the intent to commit domestic terrorism” until he became involved with an undercover FBI contractor, who went by the name of Bill Smith, and FBI agents, who went by the names of Youssef and Hussein. However, the government contended Mohamud’s actions before he was targeted by the FBI, such as articles he wrote for “Jihad Recollections,” indicated his “readiness to commit such a horrific act of violence” and proved he was “predisposed” to commit a crime.

James Cromitie, one of the Newburgh Four convicted of domestic terrorism offenses and sentenced to 25 years in prison, claimed the government persuaded him to engage in the plot and violated his due process. But the Second Circuit determined there were no violations of his rights, even if the government “invented all the details of the scheme” because Cromitie had expressed desire to “do something to America” and “die like a martyr.”

The Second Circuit additionally concluded government agents were permitted to target a person’s religious affiliation in order to “probe the attitudes” of an individual who may want to “do something to America.” They are allowed to “learn whether his religious views have impelled him toward the violent brand of radical Islam that poses a dire threat to the United States.”

In Cromitie’s case, his defense argued the government informant exploited a relationship to “manipulate Cromitie into agreeing to the planned attacks” on a synagogue and military targets at a National Guard base. But the Ninth Circuit believes the “illusory cultivation of emotional intimacy” is allowed. Even though the government informant offered Cromitie, a poor black man, $250,000 in cash, a barbershop valued at $70,000, a new BMW, as well as a two-week vacation, this was not deemed an entrapment scheme that violated his due process.

At sentencing, Judge Colleen McMahon declared, “The essence of what occurred here is that a government, understandably zealous to protect its citizens from terrorism, came upon a man both bigoted and suggestible, one who was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own…I suspect that real terrorists would not have bothered themselves with a person who was so utterly inept…Only the government could have made a terrorist out of Mr. Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope.”

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