Terrorism

Human Rights Watch: 'All of the high-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade, with four exceptions, were actually FBI sting operations'

So says a new report from the human rights group.

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Some remarkable statistics in a new report from Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute:

And then there's 'The Sting 2,' starring Jackie Gleason. All I remember about it is that it included a scene on a roller coaster.
Universal Pictures

All of the high-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade, with four exceptions, were actually FBI sting operations—plots conducted with the direct involvement of law enforcement informants or agents, including plots that were proposed or led by informants. According to multiple studies, nearly 50 percent of the more than 500 federal counterterrorism convictions resulted from informant-based cases; almost 30 percent of those cases were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.

The four exceptions are the Boston Marathon bombing, an attempted car bombing at Times Square, a plan to bomb the New York subways, and a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport. (The last of those took place in 2002, so it isn't really "of the last decade.")

For a pdf of the full report, click here. To sample Reason's coverage of these stings, go here and here.

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  1. The first Ft. Hood shooting doesn’t count?

    1. IDK how they define plot. Maybe because it was just one guy?

      1. I’m pretty sure the Times Square bomber was just one guy too.

    2. That was workplace violence. Duh.

      1. basically it was a road rage incident, you know how stressful driving can be.

    3. It was a government worker. That’s close enough to FBI for government purposes.

  2. Wow. I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you

    This is really a stunner. I’m sure it will be the #1 news story on the evening news, and in the headlines in the afternoon papers. 100 point font, even.

    Wow.

    1. “The FBI stopped four major terrorist operations in the last decade alone!”

      1. Except they didn’t even stop three out of the four attacks. The NY subway bombing is the only one they can actually take credit for preventing.

  3. I still have a nagging suspicion about the Boston one.
    But I’m a paranoid crackpot.

    1. The older brother was approached to be an FBI informant according to his attorney.

    2. I’d be more apt to say it’s an indictment of the surveillance state. The government had all the information at its disposal that it needed, but couldn’t put two and two together because of the sheer size of the bureaucracies involved.

      1. I’d be more apt to say that the whole “surveillance state” narrative is bullshit, they didn’t have the information they needed, and this is just more evidence of that.

    3. The FBI did murder the brother’s friend while questioning him. Even though the friend was unarmed and outnumbered four to one. Were they cleaning up a trail back to themselves? Who knows. It does seem like a typical FBI-instigated operation, but the Tsarnaevs went off and actually set off some bombs before the FBI could arrest them to great fanfare.

      1. Don’t forget that during this was the Whitey Bulger trial in Boston and it came out HE was an FBI informant. Hypocrisy exposed, thus “need” for dead men who tell no tales. Now it seems it’s just standard practice to kill, thus they always find themselves “doing things according to training.”

    4. Yeah, that one didn’t feel right from the very beginning.

    5. Yeah, I wouldn’t say the Marathon bombing was definately initiated by the FBI but I sure wouldn’t call anyone who did crazy for believing it.

  4. And how many drug arrests are the result of sting operations and/or other forms of entrapment?

    1. At least we’re getting all those questionable aspies off the street and out of the schools with those stings.

  5. Now I have an image stuck in my head of a Mad Magazine “Spy vs Spy” scenario of FBI and NYPD anti terror spooks trailing each other in an circle carrying giant round bombs with sputtering fuses.

  6. This is hilarious.

    1. “Ready for Hilarious!”

      1. 2016 can’t come soon enough, I’m ready for Hope and Change.

        1. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, IH.

  7. Bookmark this study for the next time some neocon wants to tell you how direly the United States are threatened by a bunch of dirt farmers in Backwoodsistan.

    1. They hate us for our freedoms.

      You’re obviously not a Great American.

    2. Yea, there’s no way a bunch of dirt farmers could hijack four planes simultaneously or blow up a train station in Spain, or bomb buses in London, or any of that shit, right?

      Please note that there is a difference between FBI-lead criminal investigations, and what’s happening in the real world.

  8. All of the high-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade, with four exceptions, were actually FBI sting operations

    Haven’t had time to RTFR.

    Does it define “high-profile domestic terrorism plot”?

    Were *all* of the *low*-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade actually FBI sting operations?

    1. Were *all* of the *low*-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade actually FBI sting operations?

      “According to multiple studies, nearly 50 percent of the more than 500 federal counterterrorism convictions resulted from informant-based cases; almost 30 percent of those cases were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.”

  9. One good way to control the population is to promote fear through covert government actions.

  10. The four exceptions are the Boston Marathon bombing, an attempted car bombing at Times Square, a plan to bomb the New York subways, and a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

    Of terror plots not orchestrated by the FBI, they were able to prevent just one of four.

    I’m assuming that they disrupted the NY subway plot. I can’t recall the incident. In all the other cases, the terrorists were able to carry out their plots.

  11. There was also a plot by some fool who was going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch.

    But there are stings and there are stings. The kind none of us approve of are the sort in which the informant ropes one or more dopes into doing something they would never have done otherwise. I think of one case of a dimwitted schoolkid was badgered into getting some pot for someone, and then busted for dealing. But a lot of stings are more the infiltration of a dangerous group, or the creation of a group as a honeypot that attracts dangerous people. I suspect a lot of the cases fall into that latter category. It’s stupid to think a plot foiled by a sting means there was no danger in the first place. Police using a bait car to doesn’t turn innocents into car thieves, and doesn’t prove that car theft isn’t a real problem.

  12. But a lot of stings are more the infiltration of a dangerous group, or the creation of a group as a honeypot that attracts dangerous people.

    Yes and no. Those stings can still have the feds egging on and facilitating the group, to the point where it crosses a line that it wouldn’t have crossed without the federal agitator in the room.

    1. It is a grey area, true. When it comes to Islamic terrorists, I am inclined to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt, as long as it’s more “facilitating” (“So you want to blow something up? I can help”) and not so much “egging on” (“Come on guys, let’s blow something up, and you’re out of our group if you don’t go along”).

  13. The LA airport shooting wasn’t 2002, it was last November.

    1. Well then, what year is it now?

    2. The LA airport shooting wasn’t 2002, it was last November.

      No, not that shooting. The El Al shooting.

  14. By ‘high profile’ I assume you mean Muslim, because quite a lot of (successful?) domestic terrorism was committed by white Christians.

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