"I would love to join Allah's army, but I don't even know how to start," Nicholas Teausant, a 20-year-old community college student in California and failed trainee in the National Guard, purportedly wrote on Instragram around 10 months ago.
Unfortunately for Teausant, the FBI knew exactly where to start and exactly how it'd end.
The story goes like this: Teausant started writing on the Internet last year about his apparent interest in making "terrorist" his next career move. This tipped off the feds, and the FBI paid an informant to befriend him.
The informant claims that Teausant told him that once, on a camping trip, he came up with a plot to bomb the Los Angeles subway system. However, "investigators never corroborated that such a camping trip actually occurred," according to the Associated Press (AP). The 20-year-old talked about other plots as well and the idea of fighting Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, according to a court complaint. The AP reports:
The informant put Teausant in contact with a "mentor" — in reality, an undercover federal agent — who could purportedly approve his efforts to join the extremists. Early this month, the "mentor" blessed Teausant's travels, and he boarded a train for Seattle on Sunday night
When the bus arrived in Blaine, just south of Vancouver, B.C., U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped it and questioned Teausant about where he was headed. He responded that he was traveling to Vancouver and was arrested
On Monday, he was charged in federal court with a single count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Although it's alarming that Teausant may have wanted to harm Americans or conduct terrorist activities abroad, the Digital Fourth rights-advocacy group highlights the fact that he never "provided any help whatsoever to terrorists, or that he was in contact, ever, with any actual terrorists."
This wouldn't be the first time members of the FBI posed as terrorists. Last year, they reeled in a teenager from Chicago. In 2012, members of the Occupy movement in Cleveland claimed the FBI pressured them into trying to blow up a bridge. Last year, Reason reviewed a book with details on the pervasive practice within the FBI of manufacturing "terrorists" like these.