Counter-Terrorism: Entrapment

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April 30, 2013: The U.S. recently arrested Abdella Ahmad Tounisi (an American citizen of Arab ancestry) for trying to leave the United States and join al Qaeda. The United States and most other Western nations with large Moslem populations have gotten much better at spotting and stopping their Moslem citizens (or emigrants) who try and travel to other countries (like Pakistan or Syria) and join Islamic terrorist groups. Over a thousand young men (and a few young women) have managed to do that over the last two decades. Even many of the families of these terrorist recruits were in the dark and the growing number of complaints by parents to the government eventually revealed the extent of the problem.

Tounisi was caught because of an FBI website set up to attract Americans seeking to join terrorist groups. In the past most of the recruiting was done by terrorist sympathizers and fund raisers in local mosques. This has become more dangerous as more American Moslems are tipping off the FBI about such recruiters, and mosques known for or suspected of such recruiting activities are under greater surveillance. So more of the recruiting has moved online and the FBI realized that most of these web sites kept their operator’s name secret, so the FBI began setting up some of its own to identify and grab wannabe terrorists before they got a chance to hurt anyone.

Tounisi was a fortuitous catch because he was good friends with Adel Daoud who was arrested a year ago after he tried to set off a bomb in Chicago for the cause of Islamic radicalism. Daoud is awaiting trial because the FBI made sure the bomb was a dud. The FBI also discovered that Tounisi was a fellow Islamic terror fan and friend of Daoud and would have been arrested with Daoud but withdrew from the plot because he suspected it was an FBI trap. While the FBI knew that Tounisi was a fan of Islamic terrorism, until he tried to go off to Syria to join an al Qaeda affiliate he had not done anything he could be indicted for.

The FBI is sometimes accused (usually by the terrorism suspects attorney, family, or fans) of entrapment. But judges and juries have not agreed with that. If you send emails or ask to meet with FBI agents posing as terrorism facilitators, you are getting caught before you can kill someone, not entrapped. Despite all these honey pot (terrorism intermediaries who are actually working for law enforcement) cases, and the publicity they get, people still fall for these bogus opportunities to commit mass murder.

 


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