Sunday, May 24, 2009
Did An FBI Informant Entice Accused Terrorists?
Let me start out by saying that what the four alleged New York terrorists are charged with plotting was diabolical and unforgivable. That I'm happy they were stopped by the FBI and the NYPD. And that, ultimately, they are responsible for their alleged actions.
But there are some new questions being raised today about the way they were trapped. And those questions focus on the manner in which they were led toward their alleged terrorist plot by an FBI informant.
The New York Daily News is reporting that other members of the mosque the alleged terrorist ringleader attended were suspicious of the FBI informant who would snare people in the parking lot and offer them assistance. Many thought he was a man to avoid. Too friendly.
The implication here is that he may have put into the mind of suspect James Cromitie the idea of committing a terrorist attack. If that is true, then, not only may the case be in jeopardy, but one must question the tactics used.
The good news is, according to the police and FBI, most of the operation was recorded. The house of one of the men was bugged. As they allegedly planned their attacks on two Bronx synagogues and Air National Guard aircraft, their words were being listened to and retained as evidence. Evidence that will be presented against them at trial. Evidence that the court will hear and use to judge the men.
But here's the question that still needs to be answered. Did law enforcement have information about suspected terrorist activities at the mosque before they sent the informant in? If so, then one could argue that the feds had reason to investigate further.
But if the informant was just given direction to go find suspected terrorists and then started attending the mosque with the intent of creating suspects to prosecute, then doesn't that make him, and by extension, the FBI, culpable in this plot?
The Muslim advocacy organization CAIR had been complaining before these arrests about alleged infiltration of mosques by informants and/or undercover agents. This case may, more than just determine the guilt or innocence of the four men charged, determine the propriety of the tactics of law enforcement in their attempts to protect us from terrorist attacks.