(and don’t forget friday, february 26, 1993… the first wtc attack facilitated by the f.b.i.)
Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.
By DAVID K. SHIPLER Published: April 28, 2012
“But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I.”
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.
When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of “inert material,” harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel to make the van smell flammable. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, with Mr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched a number into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust.
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? Judging by their official answers, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department are sure of themselves — too sure, perhaps.
Carefully orchestrated sting operations usually hold up in court. Defendants invariably claim entrapment and almost always lose, because the law requires that they show no predisposition to commit the crime, even when induced by government agents. To underscore their predisposition, many suspects are “warned about the seriousness of their plots and given opportunities to back out,” said Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman. But not always, recorded conversations show. Sometimes they are coaxed to continue.
Undercover operations, long practiced by the F.B.I., have become a mainstay of counterterrorism, and they have changed in response to the post-9/11 focus on prevention. “Prior to 9/11 it would be very unusual for the F.B.I. to present a crime opportunity that wasn’t in the scope of the activities that a person was already involved in,” said Mike German of the American Civil Liberties Union, a lawyer and former F.B.I. agent who infiltrated white supremacist groups. An alleged drug dealer would be set up to sell drugs to an undercover agent, an arms trafficker to sell weapons. That still happens routinely, but less so in counterterrorism, and for good reason.
“There isn’t a business of terrorism in the United States, thank God,” a former federal prosecutor, David Raskin, explained.
“You’re not going to be able to go to a street corner and find somebody who’s already blown something up,” he said. Therefore, the usual goal is not “to find somebody who’s already engaged in terrorism but find somebody who would jump at the opportunity if a real terrorist showed up in town.”
And that’s the gray area. Who is susceptible? Anyone who plays along with the agents, apparently. Once the snare is set, law enforcement sees no choice. “Ignoring such threats is not an option,” Mr. Boyd argued, “given the possibility that the suspect could act alone at any time or find someone else willing to help him.”
Typically, the stings initially target suspects for pure speech — comments to an informer outside a mosque, angry postings on Web sites, e-mails with radicals overseas — then woo them into relationships with informers, who are often convicted felons working in exchange for leniency, or with F.B.I. agents posing as members of Al Qaeda or other groups.
Some targets have previous involvement in more than idle talk: for example, Waad Ramadan Alwan, an Iraqi in Kentucky, whose fingerprints were found on an unexploded roadside bomb near Bayji, Iraq, and Raja Khan of Chicago, who had sent funds to an Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan.
But others seem ambivalent, incompetent and adrift, like hapless wannabes looking for a cause that the informer or undercover agent skillfully helps them find. Take the Stinger missile defendant James Cromitie, a low-level drug dealer with a criminal record that included no violence or hate crime, despite his rants against Jews. “He was searching for answers within his Islamic faith,” said his lawyer, Clinton W. Calhoun III, who has appealed his conviction. “And this informant, I think, twisted that search in a really pretty awful way, sort of misdirected Cromitie in his search and turned him towards violence.”
THE informer, Shahed Hussain, had been charged with fraud, but avoided prison and deportation by working undercover in another investigation. He was being paid by the F.B.I. to pose as a wealthy Pakistani with ties to Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist group that Mr. Cromitie apparently had never heard of before they met by chance in the parking lot of a mosque.
“Brother, did you ever try to do anything for the cause of Islam?” Mr. Hussain asked at one point.
“O.K., brother,” Mr. Cromitie replied warily, “where you going with this, brother?”
Two days later, the informer told him, “Allah has more work for you to do,” and added, “Revelation is going to come in your dreams that you have to do this thing, O.K.?” About 15 minutes later, Mr. Hussain proposed the idea of using missiles, saying he could get them in a container from China. Mr. Cromitie laughed.
Reading hundreds of pages of transcripts of the recorded conversations is like looking at the inkblots of a Rorschach test. Patterns of willingness and hesitation overlap and merge. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Mr. Cromitie said, and then explained that he meant women and children. “I don’t care if it’s a whole synagogue of men.” It took 11 months of meandering discussion and a promise of $250,000 to lead him, with three co-conspirators he recruited, to plant fake bombs at two Riverdale synagogues.
“Only the government could have made a ‘terrorist’ out of Mr. Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in its scope,” said Judge Colleen McMahon, sentencing him to 25 years. She branded it a “fantasy terror operation” but called his attempt “beyond despicable” and rejected his claim of entrapment.
The judge’s statement was unusual, but Mr. Cromitie’s characteristics were not. His incompetence and ambivalence could be found among other aspiring terrorists whose grandiose plans were nurtured by law enforcement. They included men who wanted to attack fuel lines at Kennedy International Airport; destroy the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago; carry out a suicide bombing near Tampa Bay, Fla., and bomb subways in New York and Washington. Of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks since 9/11 on American soil, 14 were developed in sting operations.
Another New York City subway plot, which recently went to trial, needed no help from government. Nor did a bombing attempt in Times Square, the abortive underwear bombing in a jetliner over Detroit, a planned attack on Fort Dix, N.J., and several smaller efforts. Some threats are real, others less so. In terrorism, it’s not easy to tell the difference.
Update… same methods and same lies???
Al Qaeda Bomb Cell Infiltrated By Insider Who Foiled New Airline Plot: Officials
By RICHARD ESPOSITO, RHONDA SCHWARTZ and BRIAN ROSS | ABC News – 8 May 2012
In a stunning intelligence coup, a dangerous al Qaeda bomb cell in Yemen was successfully infiltrated by an inside source who secretly worked for the CIA and several other intelligence agencies, authorities revealed to ABC News.
The inside source is now “safely out of Yemen,” according to one international intelligence official, and was able to bring with him to Saudi Arabia the bomb al Qaeda thought was going to be detonated on a U.S.-bound aircraft.
The bomb, a refined version of the so-called underwear bomb used in a failed attempt on a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009, is now at the FBI crime laboratories in Quantico, Virginia.
U.S. officials said they felt confident throughout the operation that the bomb was not an actual threat because the inside source had “control.”
White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan reiterated on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” today that the bomb was not an “active threat,” which is why the public was told repeatedly by top administration officials, including Brennan, that there were no known active plots surrounding the anniversary of bin Laden’s death.
Brennan would not discuss the status of the would-be bomber, citing operational security, and declined to say whether the insider had himself been tapped to carry out the plot.
“The means that we were able to get this device, we’re trying to make sure we protect, again, the equities that are involved with it,” he said.
Brennan also said he could not say whether there were other bombers still at large.
“You never know what you don’t know,” Brennan said. “I think people getting on a plane today should feel confident their intelligence services are working day in and day out to stop these IEDs [improvised explosive devices] from getting anywhere near a plane, but also I think when they go through the security measures at airports, they understand why they’re in place.”
Authorities told ABC News that the device was non-metallic, meaning it could be easy to get through at least one layer of metal-detecting airport security, and had an improved triggering mechanism over the one that failed on Christmas Day in 2009. And what Brennan knows and did not say, according to officials, is that several other elements of the plot were under investigation, including possible additional bombers and other kinds of bombs.
New Underwear Bomb From Al Qaeda Master Bombmaker
Late Monday federal officials confirmed that the U.S., working with other intelligence agencies, recovered the explosive device presumably meant to attack a U.S.-bound flight that resembles other bombs manufactured by the Yemen-based al Qaeda affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The plot appeared timed to coincide with the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, but the bomber did not get as far as purchasing plane tickets or choosing a flight. As ABC News first reported last week, the plot led the U.S. to order scores of air marshals to Europe to protect U.S.-bound aircraft. Flights out of Gatwick Airport in England received 100 percent coverage, according to U.S. officials.
Al Qaeda bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri was again the mastermind of the plot, according to U.S. and other intelligence sources. Asiri designed the bombs in the failed printer-bomb cargo plane plot of 2009 and earlier planted a bomb in the rectum of his brother, who died in a suicide attack on the Saudi intelligence chief. He also made Abdulmutallab’s underwear bomb, which failed to detonate properly.
The FBI is currently examining the new bomb and is “exploiting” it for intelligence, Brennan said.
But according to former White House counter-terrorism advisor and current ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the insider’s escape from Yemen could put counter-terror operations at a disadvantage from here on out.
“You have to wonder if this plot was foiled by someone on the inside, whether or not that means that source is blown and therefore they no longer have someone on the insde and would not know about the next plot,” Clarke said.
U.S. officials said Fahd al-Quso, the head of operations for AQAP, was killed over the weekend by a U.S. drone strike. Asiri, the bombmaker, is still at large, and is believed to be training other bombmakers and making other bombs, all aimed at U.S. aircraft.
AQAP has been described by numerous U.S. officials as a top security threat to the U.S. homeland, more so even than central al Qaeda formerly led by Osama bin Laden.
Acts 9:23 (NASV) conspiracy is nothing new…
When many days had elapsed, the JEWS PLOTTED TOGETHER to do away with him…