FBI uses sting operations to make terrorism cases

Human Rights Watch reported that many of the high-profile terrorism cases brought by the FBI since Sept. 11, 2001, were sting operations by the FBI itself.

The international human rights organization did not investigate all the cases, but a representative sample revealed a disturbing pattern of the FBI and its informants concocting fake terrorist plots and then recruiting people to join them.

No doubt some of their targets were real terrorists, said Andrea Prasow, Washington director of HRW.  “But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would not have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”

HRW said the FBI at times has targeted people who were mentally retarded or mentally ill, people who had no previous idea of getting involved in a terrorist plot, and indigent people who were tempted by large sums of money offered for joining the plot.

Of four plots known to have been concocted without FBI involvement, two were carried out—the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the Los Angeles Airport shooting in 2002. The other two were an attempted car bombing in Times Square in 2010, and a plot to bomb the New York subways in 2009.

The American public would be better served if the FBI concentrated on actual terrorist plots, instead of generating fake plots to create a statistically impressive record.


ILLUSION OF JUSTICE, a report by Human Rights Watch.

US Terrorism Prosecutions Often an Illusion, the Human Rights Watch press release.

All But Four of the High Profile Domestic Terrorism Plots in the Last Decade Were Crafted From the Ground Up by the FBI by Tim Cushing for TechDirt.

Government agents ‘directly involved’ in most high-profile US terror plots by Spencer Ackerman for The Guardian.

Blacklisted: the Secret Government Rulebook for Labeling You a Terrorist by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Deveraux for The Intercept.

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