The FBI and Domestic ISIS Arrest: Keeping Fear Alive as a Government Mission

A continuing pattern of domestic terror, courtesy of our FBI.


Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept has some perspective worth keeping in mind regarding this week's spincter-tightening announcement of Domestic ISIS! Right here in New York City!

As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, "it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant." One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI's plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted on Twitter that this case "sounds like another victory for the FBI over the mentally ill."

Greenwald notes with some case studies (see some clips by me at the end of the post on the same theme) that so many of the FBI's victories over terror involve their own nudging otherwise harmless people along to do or say things they can be arrested for—what Greenwald summarizes, in this week's domestic ISIS case and others, as giving us cause to "thank the brave men and women of the FBI for saving us from their own terror plots." resulting in "sending young people to prison for decades for "crimes" which even their sentencing judges acknowledge they never would have seriously considered, let alone committed, in the absence of FBI trickery."

Greenwald asks a question I've been asking since at least 2006 about the domestic terror threat:

how serious of a threat can all of this be, at least domestically, if the FBI continually has to resort to manufacturing its own plots by trolling the Internet in search of young drifters and/or the mentally ill whom they target, recruit and then manipulate into joining? Does that not, by itself, demonstrate how over-hyped and insubstantial this "threat" actually is? Shouldn't there be actual plots, ones that are created and fueled without the help of the FBI, that the agency should devote its massive resources to stopping?

Greenwald ends with a quote he got from the ACLU of Massachusetts's Kade Crockford from the mouth of former FBI assistant director Thomas Fuentes, discussing one of the agency's terror stings:

If you're submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you're not going to submit the proposal that "We won the war on terror and everything's great," cuz the first thing that's gonna happen is your budget's gonna be cut in half. You know, it's my opposite of Jesse Jackson's 'Keep Hope Alive'—it's 'Keep Fear Alive.' Keep it alive.

On the fifth anniversary of 9/11 I asked "Where's the Terror?" and revisited the strange lack of much demonstrated terror threat against our quite porous country allegedly facing a relentless and unstoppable worldwide gang of suicidal maniacs in such posts as "Undercover Federal Provocateurs Continue to Threaten America!", "Myths of Domestic Terror," and "The FBI: Making Sure we Don't Need to Import Terror from Overseas."