If you’re a fake bomb-maker for the FBI or one of those informants who poses as an ISIS recruiter online, business is definitely booming, as continued pushes for more “terror” arrests have dramatically escalated the problem, with the FBI admitting “hundreds” of such sting operation are now ongoing.
Increasingly, reports of detained “ISIS suspects” involve arrested Americans with literally no ties to ISIS, who were approached by FBI informants as likely to be susceptible, and then ultimately arrested for their involvement in an FBI-manufactured “plot.” The NY Times is reporting about two in three terror prosecutions in the US are such FBI-made fake plots.
The plots have been a bit varied, sometimes involving shipping fake guns to somebody and arresting them for possession of the guns, sometimes offering to pay their way to Syria then arresting them at the airport, or even just buying a panhandler a knife and a few bucks and telling him to go stab people “for ISIS.” Most often, however, the ones making the headlines have seen the FBI giving someone of phony bomb, telling him to go blow something up, then arresting him for attempting to use a “weapon of mass destruction.”
Rounding up every Tom, Dick, and Harry who had a Twitter chat with an FBI informant and then accepted a package from them isn’t a great way to catch real plotters, and the schemes have been criticized for creating a large number of arrests where the government can’t practically prosecute people for anything.
Defense lawyers and rights groups complain that the FBI is using its power to launch undercover operations, once a rarity, too loosely and is entrapping a lot of “suspects” who might never have done anything if left alone. Indeed, more than once the FBI has arrested someone with a mental disorder they conned into a plot.
FBI officials, however, defend the tactic, saying “we’re not going to wait for the person to mobilize on his own time.” Rather, it seems, the FBI is going to turn them into “active plotters” by hook or by crook, and keep those arrest numbers high.
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