Mixed feelings

While I approve of law enforcement finding and disrupting criminals before they can carry out their criminal acts I find it a little bit disconcerting that in this case the criminals/terrorists had to be led by the hand to actually commit (what they thought were) criminal acts:

Two men who professed devotion to Al Qaeda — one a convert to Islam, the other a Jordanian native — were charged Thursday with plotting to blow up buildings in Illinois and Texas.

In both cases, the men thought they were working with Al Qaeda operatives when they were really working with undercover federal agents.

One man, according to authorities, planted what he thought was an explosive outside a Dallas skyscraper, while the other parked a van, supposedly armed with a bomb, outside a federal courthouse in Springfield, Ill. The devices were fakes.

The FBI had a drug informant become friendly with Finton, according to the complaint. The informant told agents that Finton had talked about wanting to get terrorist training and to fight in Gaza against Israelis. Agents then worked to set up an “opportunity for action that we controlled,” began recording encounters with him and put him in touch with an undercover agent who told Finton he was an Al Qaeda operative.

In a July conversation, Finton allegedly told the agent he was considering attacks on “government buildings, banks and police stations.” His hope was that an attack would cause the U.S. military to withdraw from conflicts overseas.

“Finton said attacking the FBI office would be great, because he had no love for the police, so that would not bother him a bit,” according to the affidavit. He allegedly proposed bombing the federal building in Springfield in July with a backpack bomb or an explosive in a vehicle.

In August, the agent told Finton that the plan had been approved by his supervisors in Al Qaeda and had Finton make a videotaped message that supposedly was to be shown to organization leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

They apparently weren’t capable of building their own bombs so the FBI did it (fake ones of course) for them. And encouraged them with fakeĀ approval from the highest level within the terrorist organization. It sounds to me like the FBI was walking a fine line very close to entrapment.

This sounds like what the radicals of the 1960s said about how easy it was to identify the FBI infiltrators–they were the ones encouraging people to commit crimes.

11 thoughts on “Mixed feelings

  1. Honest people would not have been caught in that trap. These is baiting just like baiting a mouse trap. However I have no sympathy for the young jihadists. They want to set off a bomb and were given an opportunity. They were willing to kill innocents in the building. They did not know the bombs were fake.

    This is good counter terrorism work. Now whether the courts would invalidate the case based on entrapment is another question. But the jury would be Texans and I am sure they are not bothered and would send these wannabe killers to jail.

  2. Plus this is a lesson in the networks that the chances that if you want to set off bombs then the FBI will catch you. That is a deterrent for any local wannabe terrorists. That is an important lesson.

  3. It has been an approved technique for years and is no different from what they did to Randy Weaver as well as many others.

  4. Same type of crap the BAT boys pull at guns shows. “Say can this be made to shoot like a machine gun?” “Hey, can you get this with a shorter barrel so I can put it under my truck seat?”

    That said, you’d have to be fairly dumb to get entrapped by these tactics, unless you really did want to break the law.

  5. It is never against the law for the FBI to lie to anyone, only for anyone to lie to the FBI. What does that tell you about government?

  6. Makes me wonder if they would have done it on thier own if they had no outer influence. This also makes me think about the extremely questionable history and tactics of our CIA. Where is the line?

  7. This is one I am following pretty closely (since I work less than half a mile from the intended target) and there is more to it than just that; the FBI moles offered to come up with a plan that just resulted in property damage and minimized death and violence, and Our Hero rejected that option, saying that he wanted as much carnage as possible.

    Stupid criminals and terrorists can still eventually end up killing a lot of people, even if they end up resorting to just axes and rocks.

  8. I’m confused by some of the comments here. Was it a bad thing that these idiots were prevented from killing Americans?

    Is anyone else alarmed that we are catching more and more domestic terrorists? We’re stopping the stupid ones, but eventually one will be smarter or more careful than the others. Care to bet what some of the comments will be after a successful domestic attack perpetrated by Americans?

  9. With given freedoms there are those who would take advantage. It cannot be helped. Does that mean make every state a police state? Bring on Martial Law? Take away certain freedoms or rights to protect our soil?

  10. Sounds like they went over the line to me. I doubt these people would have managed to do anything on their own and were just set up to hype the problem and get more restrictions placed on ordinary people. Sure they were potential terrorists, just like everyone else, encouraged by our crime fighting teams who while they were spending time setting these guys up in a nice textbook conviction were not watching real terrorists who really do wish to do us harm and really have the means and caability to do it.

    If you insist on imprisoning dim wits, couldn’t they just find these guys and tell them here is a grenade and to go throw it here. Give them a dud and when they throw it nick them. Much quicker and just as effective.

    Don’t forget though that soon this will be used on us. In the US when you are told to register your guns, and most of you won’t, you will be the criminals then. Spied on and set up to ensure criminals pay for their crimes.

    There is something not right here.

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