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NY Times: 'FBI Foils Its Own Terrorist Plots'

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the you-have-been-called-out dept.

Crime 573

Fluffeh writes "Breaking up terrorist plots is one of the main goals of the FBI these days. If it can't do that, well, it seems making plots up and then valiantly stopping them is okay too — but the NY Times is calling them on it. 'The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts. But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.'"

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It's not Entrapment. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862789)

It's encouragement.

Very different. For one thing, the movie stars Jessica Alba instead of Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Re:It's not Entrapment. (5, Funny)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#39862851)

And it's not Lupus either. Oops. Wrong message board.

Re:It's not Entrapment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863165)

Everybody lies...

Re:It's not Entrapment. (5, Insightful)

jamesmusik (2629975) | about 2 years ago | (#39862907)

It may or may not be entrapment, but it definitely doesn't prevent actual terror attacks.

Re:It's not Entrapment. (4, Interesting)

V-similitude (2186590) | about 2 years ago | (#39863263)

Disagree. If you flood the market with fakes, and then arrest everyone who buys the fakes, you'll end up with fewer people willing or able to buy the real stuff.

Re:It's not Entrapment. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863393)

Nope, you just encourage people to try harder and make a bigger impact. Did it ever occur to you that these people might have been saved by convincing them to use peaceful means to make their point. instead we've taught a lesson that deception, lies and treachery are the way to accomplish your goals. People do learn by example. What example has the FBI given us?

Re:It's not Entrapment. (5, Insightful)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 2 years ago | (#39862959)

But it's still THEATER and not real security.

I understand the need for people to break the law by attempting the criminal act because you can't really arrest people for "hating" or "feeling suicidal" they have to break some laws.

On the other hand this is EXACTLY the premise of Person of Interest. Is the FBI only going after the Terror cases and not GETTING HELP for people pushed too far? Do we really have agents out there selling weapons to boost their street cred to some upset guy who takes it and kills 5 family members? When they could have got the guy some help to not commit ANY crime?

This becomes dangerously close to what the CIA used to play at sponsoring drug dealers and smugglers often against local PD. THEN it was to get inside rebels to fight Commies.

This is the problem with "Law Enforcement" and not "Officers of the Peace" in a nutshell.

Re:It's not Entrapment. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862971)

Forest of 1000 Ass-Rapings.

How do you do?

Re:It's not Entrapment. (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39863085)

Used to?

In case you haven't heard one of Obama's admins was selling guns to drug dealers in Mexico, and then when those U.S. guns turned-up in southern border states, justified passage of anti-gun laws to limit them. It's the new trick of false-flagging a U.S. operation to achieve the desired ends.

BTW I think drugs should be decriminalized. Per the 10th amendment Congress has zero authority to ban them... no more authority than they have to ban alcohol. The power is reserved to the People and the people's legislatures. (Same goes for Congress attempt to outlaw natural milk.)

Re:It's not Entrapment. (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#39863265)

BTW I think drugs should be decriminalized. Per the 10th amendment Congress has zero authority to ban them... no more authority than they have to ban alcohol.

Indeed. It took a freakin constitutional ammendment to outlaw liquor, but now the DEA can just publish a new drug schedule and tada, they've outlawed some new drug without congress even voting on it.

Re:It's not Entrapment. (5, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#39863281)

>In case you haven't heard one of Obama's admins was selling guns to drug dealers in Mexico,

In 2006.

When Obama was secretly President.

God damn him and his time machine.

--
BMO

Re:It's not Entrapment. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863291)

Congress outlawed those things in the name of The People. As they well should in a functioning democracy, only in a democracy that has to be retarded by liberals is that considered a stupid idea. Yes I agree that a democracy retarded by liberals is the best democracy, this doesn't change the facts.

Re:It's not Entrapment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863323)

If you smoke Cannabis you buy less alcohol, which effects interstate commerce. See Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942) [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's not Entrapment. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863343)

Used to?

In case you haven't heard one of Obama's admins was selling guns to drug dealers in Mexico, and then when those U.S. guns turned-up in southern border states, justified passage of anti-gun laws to limit them. It's the new trick of false-flagging a U.S. operation to achieve the desired ends.

I know the right-wing blogosphere decided to concoct their own version of that operation but it wasn't even close to that.

The intent was to determine the paths by which guns were unlawfully traded to Mexico from the US. Something clearly within federal purview. This was focused on a fuller understrdanding of the process because of a complaint about not enough focus on the big fish.

Get your conspiracy theories and put them where they belong.

It helps keep us safe (1, Insightful)

QuincyDurant (943157) | about 2 years ago | (#39863185)

They take some people off the street who, at the very least, have an abnormally high interest in making war against the U.S. within our borders. More important, it makes terrorists wary of trusting one another, thus disrupting their operations.

At the time of 9/11, people criticized the FBI for sitting on its ass and letting Bin Laden get away with it. Call me crazy, but I'm all for jailing and killing people who want to destroy the U.S.

Re:It helps keep us safe (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#39863197)

Me too, as long as they leave everyone else the fuck alone.

Re:It helps keep us safe (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863387)

More people died of food poisoning in any year you care to mention than died in the twin towers attack. How about we have intrusive laws surrounding food preparation. And you can pick the locality of New Yowk City for that stat and it still holds true. While more people in the world are worried about the possibility of American drone strikes, possible invasion of their country, or just the devaluation of the world reserve through quantitative easing shrinking their money supply.
Just because something makes a great show on TV does not mean it is any more important than the thousands of news stories that didn't, but we're somehow working as if this is the case, case in point the Syria issue as opposed to the Bahrain issue. Per head the regime in Bahrain has killed more people than the Syrian regime. Since Bahrain is a small nation. We hear little of Bahrain however, perhaps due to the American Naval Base in the country. Due to the propaganda you're fed you find it laughable that I suggest the two nation's states are even remotely equivalent. Yet I remind you that in relation to their populations the Bahrain regime has killed more citizens then the Syrian regime.

Re:It helps keep us safe (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39863319)

The FBI has gone to the opposite extreme. Have you seen their listed of "suspected terrorists"??? It includes people who pay with cash, cover their cellphones while chatting, have a Ron Paul or Campaign for Liberty bumper sticker, carry a pocket constitution (wow; knowing the law; horrible), and on and on. At the end of the day almost everyone is a suspected terrorist by the FBI list.

Re:It's not Entrapment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863187)

Common sense tells me that the guy / organizations that pushes people to do the dirty deeds are the master mind terrorists. With the same logic, if those puppy "terrorists" were indeed guilty, shouldn't the master mind be at least equally guilty?

Forest Poorest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862797)

This post is streets ahead.

Making Up vs. Facilitating (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862837)

There's a world of difference between initiating your own terrorist attack, vs infiltrating someone else's.

This would be a scandal if the FBI was making up its own attacks, recruiting people to join them, and then arresting those people.

But what it seems its doing is much more appropriate than that -- flooding the pools of potential recruits with undercover agents, flooding the supply chain for explosives etc with informers, etc so anyone who tries to get a major attack off the ground ends up running into one of the traps and ultimately arrested before the plot can come to fruition.

I'm glad they're doing it. I really hope they are doing even more along the same lines for anyone seeking experts or parts required for WMD. And shame on the NY Times for trying to make this out to be something its not.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (4, Interesting)

J4 (449) | about 2 years ago | (#39862895)

Encouraging a bunch of j*ckoffs who couldn't find their asses with both hands at high noon is bullsh*t propaganda.

The FBI aided the _first_ WTC bomb plot.
The FBI aided Olklahoma City.

Bunch of fscking leeches that need to get real jobs. And stop being such a scared rabbit, America is not supposed the land of pissed pants.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863117)

Encouraging a bunch of j*ckoffs who couldn't find their asses with both hands at high noon is bullsh*t propaganda.

The FBI aided the _first_ WTC bomb plot.
The FBI aided Olklahoma City.

Bunch of fscking leeches that need to get real jobs. And stop being such a scared rabbit, America is not supposed the land of pissed pants.

Don't forget: the former head of the CIA and father of the sitting President at the time, was close friends with the man who initiated the 9/11.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (2, Interesting)

EL_mal0 (777947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39863395)

Yeah. . . I think I'm going to need to see some reputable sources for those claims.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862909)

i disagree. they are not merely intercepting supply chains for people with ideas already in motion. they are going out and provoking likely candidates to see who is serious about it. when you go find a likely criminal and propose "how about you commit terrorist act XYZ and here is the stuff to do it" all you are doing is verifying reasonable intent to do something bad. if the something in particular was your own proposal then that's not part of the story. i am ambivalent about the usefulness of sounding out candidates to hook the serious ones and get them off the street but the new story should say nothing more than "likely harmdoer arrested for demonstrating serious willingness to do actual harm".

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863245)

a malcontent with no method or means to express such in physical terms is no threat to anyone.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862911)

They're finding idiots, encouraging, training, funding and supplying them with weapons. The 'terrorists' have been shown to be inept and without the FBI's help, it's highly doubtful they would have been able to do anything but talk.

They are culling the herd of idiots, and I suppose that's not a bad thing. Any 'real' terrorist group would know that the person offering to do everything but execute the plan is most likely a fed.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#39863013)

But what it seems its doing is much more appropriate than that -- flooding the pools of potential recruits with undercover agents, flooding the supply chain for explosives etc with informers, etc so anyone who tries to get a major attack off the ground ends up running into one of the traps and ultimately arrested before the plot can come to fruition.

The problem with your analysis is that it presumes there are realistic threats somewhere out there in the first place. There aren't. All of this work is for naught. How do I know? Because universally these cases turn out to be witless patsies. If they were stopping real threats there would be some seriously hardened guys in there with all the doofuses. But there aren't.

Then there is the lack of actual succesful attacks. It would be ridiculous to believe that any system would be perfect in the face of the existential threat these guys are made out to be. And yet the record for actual home-grown attacks over the last decade is basically two or three whackjobs with some guns and that one guy who flew his plane into the IRS building. I think the death toll is under 20 people all told. That level of risk just does not justify the resources that are put into these schemes not to mention the erosion of public confidence that it brings.

Meanwhile real crimes go unsolved because of the resources spent on these con-job photo-ops.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863135)

You raise a very interesting point. How many man-hours were spent on these cases? Even if you were to assume that these guys could have ever made contact with real terrorists who could supply and train them they would most likely kill themselves accidentally (judging by how clueless they have all been so far and how little they've actually been able to do on their own), these sort of operations often involve a ton of man-power, much of it unseen (paperwork, support personel who never even need to testify because their support doesn't make or break a case but is still important, etc)

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863279)

Fact:

You are more likely to die from unlawful conduct from law enforcement officers than you are of dying from a terrorist act.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863075)

"This would be a scandal if the FBI was making up its own attacks, recruiting people to join them, and then arresting those people." This is exactly what they're doing. Spending decades of man-years and tens of millions of dollars (at least) to find potential recruits, spending more effort radicalizing them, then providing them with plots, material support, and finally literally chauffeuring them to their 'attacks' with FBI provided 'weapons'. How much to they pay you to shill for them?

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (2, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39863119)

>>>This would be a scandal if the FBI was making up its own attacks, recruiting people to join them.....

That's exactly what the FBI is doing. They hatch the plot in their D.C. offices. Then they use undercover agents to recruit some unhappy person to help them execute the plot. It's FBI-run from start to finish.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#39863305)

And surprisingly, very few people see anything wrong with that.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | about 2 years ago | (#39863121)

I'm glad they're doing it. I really hope they are doing even more along the same lines for anyone seeking experts or parts required for WMD. And shame on the NY Times for trying to make this out to be something its not.

You really need to stop watching Mission Impossible movies. It's damaging your common sense.

Re:Making Up vs. Facilitating (2)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#39863153)

Or the NYT is, wittingly or unwittingly, part of an even bigger game to put out the perception that the FBI is broadly and deeply infiltrated into the underground supply chain that caters to would-be domestic terrorists, so as to inject mistrust among them, making them take extra precautions that would make them more detectable. Oh boy, wheels within wheels!

This has been obvious for a while (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862839)

It is much easier to create a problem and then solve it than it is to solve a real problem. If they don't catch terrorists, they will lose funding. Solution: Create a terrorist. Problem is, they arent able to create believable ones.

Re:This has been obvious for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863107)

Problem is, they arent able to create believable ones.

Hmmm, apparently it worked with bin Laden.. Never did see a body. I guess we're just supposed to believe them.

Re:This has been obvious for a while (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39863313)

It is much easier to create a problem and then solve it than it is to solve an imaginary problem. If they don't catch terrorists, they will lose funding. Solution: Create a terrorist. Problem is, they arent able to create believable ones.

TFTY

And when you say something... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862843)

They kill you: http://tytruth.com/ -- Call it whatever buzzword you want (the C word), but there is some very dark stuff behind the FBI. And the footage from OKC has yet to be revealed to the public, despite numerous FOIA requests.

Re:And when you say something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862891)

What footage are you wanting? I know people with lots of it including the video camera footage. My Uncles apartment had all of the windows blown out in it and if anyone would have been home they probably would have died. People in that apartment complex at the time also had cameras video taping the outside, because it's kind of cool to watch the weather from 17 stories up.

Re:And when you say something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863011)

Anything currently missing. http://news.antiwar.com/2009/09/27/lawyer-oklahoma-city-bombing-tapes-missing-key-portions/ -- to start with. Anything regarding this: http://www.kennethtrentadue.com/ would also be helpful. And pardon the hailing links, but they sure do poke holes in image of the FBI. I think you might find the work of James Corbett helpful in clarifying the subject: http://www.corbettreport.com/breaking-secret-fbi-storage-drive-to-shield-evidence-from-foia/ -- though it is certainly not limited to the FBI or OKC.

Re:And when you say something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863109)

Oh yes, I almost forgot; I would love to have footage of the wondrous crater too - not the artist's (WMD style) rendition. Also, the content of Sgt. Terrance Yeakey's multi-page original report and what he observed; I imagine at least some of that was filmed, no? And just in case you are moving too swiftly to catch the obvious, we might remember that edited videos often omit content ... which some have been requesting for years. Anyway, pardon me whilst I obliterate the galaxy with cat piss and horse turds, which by alleged example is awfully easy, at least with the help of the FBI.

Re:And when you say something... (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39863181)

Funny you bring that up. It's suspected that Breitbart's sudden death was planned. On the other hand it could be just coincidence & he died a young man (it happens).

But now the L.A. police are saying his coroner was poisoned. Hmmm. Spells like cover up. The coroner knows too much about what he found in Breitbart's corpse (i.e. not natural causes), and now he's been silenced too.

Re:And when you say something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863337)

If so, that would be the worst cover up ever. Aren't they supposed to make things look less suspicious?

Although maybe that's the genius of it if you think about it. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Imaginary Hobgoblins (5, Insightful)

AdamnSelene (2183372) | about 2 years ago | (#39862857)

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
--H.L. Menken

Surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862877)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandon_Darby

Happened in Dallas Too (4, Interesting)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#39862879)

It happened in Dallas too, they gave a guy a truck and a fake bomb and a building to blow up. Then they celebrated when they caught the terrorist. I am not sure why his defense is not "I knew the bomb was fake".

Re:Happened in Dallas Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862921)

If the first thing he did was not report it to the FBI or Police that some yahoos asked him to blow up a building, then for all intents, he had motive, he lacked means.

This is not entrapment. If the FBI was not out there looking for these idiots, they would eventually try something anyways.

"Hey, you wanna blow up a bldg"

If the reply is not "screw off, I'm calling the cops" then something is wrong.

Re:Happened in Dallas Too (1)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#39862969)

I assume it went a bit likt the NYT story linked above and they spent a year pressuring a guy into doing it. I am not sure it is entrapment, I am equally not sure it is terrorism.

Hmmm (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | about 2 years ago | (#39863025)

What if you don't trust the cops?

Re:Hmmm (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | about 2 years ago | (#39863127)

Then you don't buy the fake bomb in the first place, regardless.

Re:Happened in Dallas Too (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863287)

If people claiming to be murderous terrorists took you into their confidence and pressured you to perform an act for them, you could be forgiven for assuming that there might be negative consequences to disobeying or informing on them, even if none were explicitly given.

Odd... (1, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | about 2 years ago | (#39862881)

Funny how it is. When a young-looking woman poses as an underage girl online and 40-year old men get arrested for trying to have sex with her, it's catching predators. But when the FBI pretends to be terrorists selling explosives, Stinger missiles or other such things, it's wrong. Ask yourself this: if a man offered you the materials and capabilities to (blow up/shoot down/shoot up) a (building/plane/event), what would you say? You'd freak out and say no at the very least, right? I know I would. I'd also call the authorities. These are people who did the opposite...who took them up on the offer. That isn't exactly the behavior of an innocent person. I don't see how it's any different from a 'young girl' who acts a little flirty in a chat room and then gets asked by a pedophile to meet for the purpose of having sex. If a young girl flirts with me, I'm going to pat her on the head kindly, and then keep walking. Her flirting isn't exactly all that tempting to me that I'm going to just casually follow her cues and commit a felony. Same thing here.

Re:Odd... (5, Informative)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#39862915)

Did you read the story? The guy said no like 100 times. They pushed on him for 11 months, paid him $250k and promised him no women or children would be hurt. Hard for me to call that willing. If the catch a predator people offered the perps $50k to come have sex with them, you might have a similar situation.

Re:Odd... (4, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about 2 years ago | (#39862995)

If the catch a predator people offered the perps $50k to come have sex with them, you might have a similar situation.

$50k to have sex with Chris Hansen? I'm in.

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863005)

What if I take the $250k and split?

Re:Odd... (3, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about 2 years ago | (#39863091)

Theft of U.S. federal property I guess. It's a catch 22.

Re:Odd... (2)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39863391)

Heh, now there's an idea.

Act like a loudmouth ter'ist on Internet message boards until the FBI comes along and tries to entice you into doing it for real. Act reluctant until they offer you a quarter million dollars. Then take the cash... and then back out.

If the "terrorists" threaten to retaliate for taking their cash without going through with the deed... you can always turn them into the FBI. :)

Re:Odd... (2)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 2 years ago | (#39863145)

I'm confused where blowing up men is more moral than blowing up women. The guy was perfectly eager to kill men.

I heartily support women's rights. But I also support everybody's rights to not be murdered. The fact that his psychopathic ambitions only aspired to kill *half* of the population doesn't seem like coercion.

If a terrorist is worried their bomb will Kill a muslim so they promise it'll only kill Jews I don't view that as coercion--the intent to kill *somebody* is all that matters.

Re:Odd... (4, Insightful)

Caerdwyn (829058) | about 2 years ago | (#39863149)

He didn't say "no" 101 times, though. When someone asks "wanna go blow up a bridge", you have to choose the correct answer EVERY SINGLE TIME. Forever.

Peer pressure is no excuse for enacting a terrorist plot. If you're corruptible and in a position in which your corruption gets people killed (either by your own hand or by your willful inaction), you're everyone's rightful prey.

Re:Odd... (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#39863277)

That the people involved did in fact commit crimes and prosecuting them is perfectly fine isn't the point, it's a usefullnes issue. From the article:

This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones?

It can't be that hard to find someone willing to blow people up - there's plenty of crazy people around. Do we really gain anything by removing a handful of morons from the potential recruit pool? If we do then is what we gain worth the cost - both direct and the opportunity cost of the agents involved not doing other work?

Re:Odd... (2)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#39863293)

Not when it's the cops pressuring you.

Then it's called entrapment.

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863379)

Wait, where does corruption come into play here?
It says in the constitution if the federal government starts infringing on state's rights, then we should blow it the fuck up.
So, how is that corrupt?

Re:Odd... (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39863411)

Heh, no. Defense attorneys have field days with interrogators working a suspect down until they agree that they kidnapped the Lindbergh baby. You don't get to work someone over repeatedly, then stand aghast when they do something stupid with the things you provided them with.

Re:Odd... (1)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#39862967)

I think you've got a point here, but I also wonder whether this represents the FBI being in the business of arresting people for thinking about doing bad things. How far is this from some drunk guy talking about how he hates the President getting egged on by an FBI agent until he makes a threat, then getting hauled in? We don't know how much pushing or pulling the FBI did here.

And, let's be frank; these guys don't look like the sharpest knives in the drawer. Even if they wanted to blow up a bridge, were they really a threat if they wouldn't have been able to come close to doing it without the FBI helping them?

Re:Odd... (3, Informative)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#39862997)

Actually we do. They did 11 months of pushing and pulling. Then they offered the guy $250k.

Re:Odd... (2)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#39863057)

Sounds suspiciously like recruitment tactics used by terrorist organizations. So what did the FBI accomplish here, besides proving that you can convince people to become terrorists given enough time and a budget?

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863161)

Well, our foreign policy is certainly good at convincing people to become terrorists. After the 1998 embassy bombings, Senator Hatch said that it was still worth it that we helped train Bin Laden back when he was a freedom fighter against the Soviet Union.

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863027)

Funny how it is. When a young-looking woman poses as an underage girl online and 40-year old men get arrested for trying to have sex with her, it's catching predators. But when the FBI pretends to be terrorists selling explosives, Stinger missiles or other such things, it's wrong. Ask yourself this: if a man offered you the materials and capabilities to (blow up/shoot down/shoot up) a (building/plane/event), what would you say? You'd freak out and say no at the very least, right? I know I would. I'd also call the authorities. These are people who did the opposite...who took them up on the offer. That isn't exactly the behavior of an innocent person. I don't see how it's any different from a 'young girl' who acts a little flirty in a chat room and then gets asked by a pedophile to meet for the purpose of having sex. If a young girl flirts with me, I'm going to pat her on the head kindly, and then keep walking. Her flirting isn't exactly all that tempting to me that I'm going to just casually follow her cues and commit a felony. Same thing here.

The issue is that the FBI isn't so much infiltrating groups as it is basically trying to create them. They are pushing very hard at people who probably would never have done anything at all without the undercover FBI agents constant, insistent, encouragement and help with supplies. When the FBI picks the people, provides the motivation and the equipment, and provides the target too, what you catch aren't really terrorists as much as they just people with a low tolerance for peer pressure.

I'm sure they are catching some genuinely bad people, on sheer coincidence, but it seems to me this type of approach would get them nowhere in the courts if they weren't going after the bad guy flavor of the month.

Re:Odd... (1)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | about 2 years ago | (#39863095)

When a young-looking woman poses as an underage girl online and 40-year old men get arrested for trying to have sex with her, it's catching predators. But when the FBI pretends to be terrorists selling explosives, Stinger missiles or other such things, it's wrong.

They're both wrong.

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863125)

When a young-looking woman poses as an underage girl online and 40-year old men get arrested for trying to have sex with her, it's catching predators.

Dude, did you read the story?
The agents pay them, provide with support and materials. One of the bombers was driven as a passenger to the attack destination

If a young-looking woman poses as an underage girl, suggests that she can provide money, supply the guy with a vibrator, teaches him some Kama Sutra, rents a room in a hotel and then picks up that 40-year old man in a car... Perhaps still illegal to accept that offer, but quite different from simply posing as an underage to catch predators.

Re:Odd... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863151)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Gyges

I bet your neighbors aren't as wholesome as you think they are. Like my father told me, any expert can bypass a lock in seconds. Locks are only there to keep honest people honest.

Re:Odd... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#39863179)

Funny how it is. When a young-looking woman poses as an underage girl online and 40-year old men get arrested for trying to have sex with her, it's catching predators.

That's frequently bullshit too. Just like these "terrorists" almost all of the guys caught up in online pedo stings are witless patsies that pose only the most minor risk because they are by definition too stupid to really get anywhere without some LEO orchestrating the whole thing.

Another thing to note is the ridiculously low standard of evidence in these trials. Part of the reason the FBI gets away with these ridiculous con-jobs is that the standard of proof for terrorism charges has been lowered practically into the ground over the last decade. To be clear, if these were criminal conspiracy charges for anything other than "terrorism" they would almost always be thrown out of court.

Re:Odd... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#39863231)

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Re:Odd... (5, Insightful)

ideonexus (1257332) | about 2 years ago | (#39863247)

The issue isn't that these people shouldn't be in prison. They took the FBI's bait and I don't feel sympathy for them. Let them rot.

Where the FBI is doing wrong is in the way they are publicizing these busts. I keep seeing headlines that read: FBI FOILS PLOT TO BLOW LOTS OF PEOPLE UP. Which scares the hell out of people, and convinces Americans to give the FBI more taxpayer dollars (and surrender more freedoms), which the Federal Agency uses to stage more fake terrorist attacks, which gets them more funding, etc, etc, etc.

The point of terrorism isn't to kill people, it's to terrorize them for personal gain. If the FBI is staging fake acts of terrorism using people who would never be capable of pulling a terrorist attack on their own in order to foil those fake terrorist plots, then the FBI is terrorizing Americans for personal gain.

I consider that a serious problem.

Re:Odd... (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39863269)

>>>When a young-looking woman poses as an underage girl online and 40-year old men get arrested for trying to have sex with her, it's catching predators. But when the FBI pretends to be terrorists selling explosives, Stinger missiles or other such things, it's wrong.
>>>

Huge difference. The prowler was already in the underage chat room, looking for teens to exploit. What the FBI did in the case of the fake terror plot is equivalent to (1) setting-up the chat website (2) walking-around looking for people (3) giving them a laptop whose homepage is set to the chat room (4) handing them a bag of condoms and saying, "Go for it. We'll tag team her together."

(5) Then announcing on TV, "Hey we caught someone visiting the underage chat. Look here's the bag of condoms to prove it." The FBI is running the WHOLE show from start to finish.

Re:Odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863357)

if a man offered you the materials and capabilities to (blow up/shoot down/shoot up) a (building/plane/event), what would you say?

I don't see how it's any different from a 'young girl' who acts a little flirty in a chat room and then gets asked by a pedophile to meet for the purpose of having sex

I think you see the difference quite clearly and choose to just pretend it does not exist.

Note your own use of the words "man offered" from the first sentance quoted above.

Followed by the use of "and then gets asked" in the second sentance.

In this country the girl does not get to approach you for sex. Its called entrapment. There are other countries where anything is fair game.

A girl flirting is like a retard ranting about how he dislikes the government... It is just as wrong for you to approach the girl for sex as it is an agent to offer weapons to the retard.

Originating vs Infiltrating (1, Interesting)

brucek2 (208676) | about 2 years ago | (#39862889)

There's a world of difference between initiating your own terrorist attack, vs infiltrating someone else's.

This would be a scandal if the FBI was making up its own attacks, recruiting people to join them, and then arresting those people.

But what it seems its doing is much more appropriate than that -- flooding the pools of potential recruits with undercover agents, flooding the supply chain for explosives etc with informers, etc so anyone who tries to get a major attack off the ground ends up running into one of the traps and ultimately arrested before the plot can come to fruition.

I'm glad they're doing it. I really hope they are doing even more along the same lines for anyone seeking experts or parts required for WMD. And shame on the NY Times for trying to make this out to be something its not.

(Reposted: wasn't logged in first time.)

Re:Originating vs Infiltrating (1)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#39863029)

Are you sure you read the story? They pushed on the guy for a year and paid him $250k...

The FBI simply floats the idea around and snag the (1)

zippo01 (688802) | about 2 years ago | (#39862913)

At what point is the FBI to step in? Its not like they just randomly walked up to people and said, hey your participating, or forceing people. The people involved were willing participants. This is simply proactive policing by the FBI. Had these people not gotten involved they would not have been arrested. The FBI simply floats the idea around and snag the people that migrate to it and are willing to do the terrorist act giving them a reason for arrest and incarceration. I see nothing wrong with this.

Re:The FBI simply floats the idea around and snag (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39862953)

I see nothing wrong with this.

Most of the civilized world does [wikipedia.org] .

Of course, right now all we have is the NYTimes' opinion of what happened. Maybe it hasn't actually been as bad as it sounds.

Re:The FBI simply floats the idea around and snag (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39863405)

Most of the civilized world does.

Which has what to do with the U.S. Government?

The best one... (4, Insightful)

NouberNou (1105915) | about 2 years ago | (#39862961)

Was when the FBI encouraged a young immigrant boy in Portland, OR to try and carry out an attack on a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. The boy by all accounts had no prior involvement in anything radical beyond browsing the internet, and seemed more angry at his parents than the US or any 'infidels' [time.com] , was approached by undercover FBI agents and brought into this plan as the trigger man.

While that is interesting in itself, the really telling part comes from the fact that the City of Portland refused to cooperate with the FBI after 9/11, refusing to allow agents unfettered library access and other information into the citizens of Portland. Not only this, and while it may be conjecture, Portland has never seemed to be on the top of anyones attack list as far as foreign terrorists go... Needless to say Portland quickly subscribed to the FBI's intelligence program after the attempted attack and decreed that it would fully cooperate in the future with any investigations.

Re:The best one... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863143)

Tom Potter (mayor) asked the FBI NOT to be of service because he wanted no one breaking laws
Even the FBI. Well we know how that went now. We are all scared or scarred. Take your pick.
They miraculously save us all here, by grooming a suspect including detonating a real truck bomb
  in a gravel pit near Lincoln City, Oregon to prove they could (to the suspect).
Highly illegal, period. I'm not afraid, I'm pissed they needed to prove their point that badly.
Who's the real terrorists? Be afraid of 'them' for once. Then call em out for what they are.
Persuaders of justice.

Gotta Justify that Budget Somehow (1)

b5bartender (2175066) | about 2 years ago | (#39862973)

Apparently sophisticated international terrorism rings aren't as big of a threat as we've been led to believe, since the FBI seems to be more busy giving themselves congratulatory press conferences every few months for capturing the newest group of illiterate morons who've been convinced to plant fake bombs.

Suspects naïvely played their parts ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39862975)

Ok then I have a question.

If they were "just playing their parts", I wonder what exactly it would take the author to "play his part" in similar situation.

Any type of statement along the lines of, "Oh hey, I have this suicide vest, do you want to blow up some buildings and die in the process?" should not convince ANYONE to just play along.

You already have to have an idology that says that doing something like that is "good" or "Righteous" for an "offer" to "play a part" in something like this generates any sort of compliant response.

Re:Suspects naïvely played their parts ??? (1)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#39863039)

Or you are a moron that is cajoled by professional government con men for a year and then offered a big payout?

Opinion (2, Insightful)

sciencewhiz (448595) | about 2 years ago | (#39862999)

This is an opinion piece in the New York Times. The views are those of David K. Shipler and not the New York Times. The NYT often runs opinion pieces that their editors do not personally agree with.

Good. (0, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#39863017)

Anybody willing to be sucked into such a scheme is a traitorous maggot, who deserves to have their heads flushed in Club Gitmo.

Absolutely no sympathy here. None whatsoever.

I think the FBI should be commended for taking out the trash, and deterring other wannabe jihadi shitbags from biting the hand that feeds them.

Re:Good. (4, Insightful)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#39863051)

These people may (and likely are) be shitbags, but we pay the FBI to stop crime not create it.

Re:Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863131)

lack of advanced reasoning skills, eh ? let me guess -- middle management type, solid average IQ, BA degree from no-name university.

It's the "Antivirus Corporate Model" of security.. (1, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#39863079)

:-)

May Day Proceed (2)

ozzy85 (1427363) | about 2 years ago | (#39863115)

I am not sure about you guys, but it seems our government and its agencies are all failing us by the minute. I can't keep track of this crap, let's pick up our pitch forks already.

Re:May Day Proceed (4, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39863355)

let's pick up our pitch forks already.

Sounds like a plan to m.... waaaaait a minute.

Ode to Allegations (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | about 2 years ago | (#39863207)

There's a fragrance in the air
You can smell it everywhere
Propaganda, propaganda
It flows through like a breeze
Boils your blood but never sneeze
Propaganda, propaganda
When the 60's were in bloom
The smell filled every classroom
Propaganda, propaganda
Then you'd see it on TV
Now they monitor your screen
Propaganda, propaganda
As their odors fill the air
Most people do not care
Propaganda, propaganda
Today's /. reports are bad
That makes everybody sad
Propaganda, propaganda
Seems the mood is turning blue
There is nothing you can do
About propaganda

Stinger missiles available on fedbay (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 years ago | (#39863215)

Focusing away from the legality and what is or is not entrapment there are two obviously fucked up things about this.

1. Searching for mental midgets who could be lead into confessing or going along with LEA invented schemes because they are easily manipulated.

2. Inventing schemes designed to capture headlines and instill more terror in terrorist fearing public....stinger missles..WTF.....

Government pissing away their legitimacy on crack shit like this has consequences for society. For godsakes look at the polling on 9/11 showing more than 1/5th of US population believe it was an Inside or Isreali job.

Thanks to the Internet and media we never forget anymore... What happens when the majority assume the next attack was an inside job?

The world turned upside down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39863237)

Wow, what's up with all these terrorism related articles showing up on slashdot lately?

And even more bizarrely, here's one that isn't fear-mongering pro war-on-terror drum beating propaganda like all the others,
but actually takes a nuanced view and comes close to elucidating the incestuous links between 3-letter agencies and
terrorist groups that is rife in the security/intelligence industry.

Furthermore I've seen a few posts in articles that take the alternative view on the possibility of controlled black-ops
and false flag/propaganda operations etc, that *didn't* immediately get modded down as -1 troll/flamebait/tinfoil-hat etc!

And it's not just slashdot either, the issue seems to be heating up in the media as though a 2006-2008 style struggle
over war-policy were going on behind the scenes and being played out in the media, (though this is just best-guess
speculation on my part of course)...

"Interesting times"

enhanced interrogation techniques (0)

Khashishi (775369) | about 2 years ago | (#39863239)

What people don't understand these days is the importance of enhanced interrogation techniques to winning our war on terror. It's not enough to take low-level fanatics out of commission. The masterminds and planners will always find another volunteer with promises and guarantees. $250000 is a lot of money to most people, and the organization has significant financial resources to expend. But identifying the threat can be difficult due to their secretive nature. It would be negligent for us to withhold any tools at our disposal, including waterboarding, to get Mr. Cromitie to tell us WHO HE IS WORKING FOR. We have to strike at the head of the organization; only then can we win the war on terror.

Re:enhanced interrogation techniques (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863325)

OK, I assume that was Irony on your part, but I'll bite anyway. We already know who he's working for... it's the FBI, right?

Oh, the irony! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39863339)

The FBI thwarting their own terrorist plots would be akin to a major newspaper creating their own news stories to report.

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