Another Terror Sting
Earlier this week Federal agents arrest Amine El Khalifi; he allegedly planned to bomb Capitol:
For more than a year, Amine El Khalifi, of Alexandria, considered attacking targets including a synagogue, an Alexandria building with military offices and a Washington restaurant frequented by military officials, authorities said. When arrested a few blocks from the Capitol around lunchtime on Friday, he was carrying what he believed to be a loaded automatic weapon and a suicide vest ready for detonation.
The gun and vest were provided not by al-Qaeda, as Khalifi had been told, but by undercover FBI agents who rendered them inoperable, authorities said.
They said Khalifi had been the subject of a lengthy investigation and never posed a threat to the public.
Khalifi “allegedly believed he was working with al-Qaeda,” said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Khalifi “devised the plot, the targets and the methods on his own.”
On the one, the good news is that the plot ended up being harmless. On the other, this is just the latest example of terror plots that seemingly would not exist save for them being involved in some sort of law enforcement sting.
Along those lines, I have to agree with the general assessment from the following:
Ashraf Nubani, a Muslim lawyer in Washington who has defended terrorism suspects in similar cases in the past, said he has has watched with alarm the increase of such FBI stings.
“It’s controlled from beginning to end by FBI. But you can’t create a terrorism case and then say you stopped it,” Nubani said. “Had the FBI not been involved, through their manipulation or informants, would the same thing have happened? Would there be attempted violence? They have their sights on certain people, the ones who talk big talk.”
I suppose it would be one thing if the FBI is simply finding true threats and then gathering sufficient evidence for prosecution. However, one does wonder as to the degree to which these strings are, in fact, simply creating faux threats that can then be neutralized.
This matters, if anything, because it is impossible to fully know how serious the actual terror threat is if these cases are more FBI creation that actual identification and detection.