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 fake 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.