The recent FBI sting operation against a Chicago teen, arrested last week for attempting to detonate a car bomb outside a popular local bar, highlights a troubling and somewhat disturbing trend.
Adel Daoud, an 18-year-old from Hillside in the Chicago suburbs, faces a lifetime behind bars after the fake bomb failed to go off. This is far from an open and shut case of terrorism however, because Daoud was helped in the plot over a period of months by undercover FBI agents posing as terrorists.
The FBI first became aware of the teen after he posted messages in a jihadist Internet forum.
According to an FBI affidavit, two undercover agents then started exchanging messages with him, during which he apparently expressed an interest in “engaging in violent jihad, either in the United States or overseas”. (1)
This isn’t the first time such a case has occurred. Similar cases we’ve reported on recently included that of Mohammad Khalid as well as the case of the Feds provided fake weapons for an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Convincing Terrorists to Take Action
According to Daoud’s lawyer, Thomas Durkin, the agents convinced him that overseas Imam’s wanted him to engage in terrorism, and the agents even convinced him to continue when he started to have second thoughts.
Furthermore, the contact with the teenager was initiated while he was still only 17 and highly impressionable – not yet legally an adult (2).
If true, this raises serious questions about the validity of such sting operations. Inserting yourself into the close circle of a potential terrorist is one thing, but actively encouraging them and helping them to procure the needed materials to carry out a bomb attack is surely another?
People have posted nonsense on the Internet ever since the web was invented, I know, I’ve seen a lot of it! Would Adel Daoud have got to the point of pressing the button on a car bomb without the intervention of the FBI?
Given Adel Daoud’s age and apparent immaturity, it’s questionable.
The case bears strong similarities to other FBI sting operations of the last few years. In 2010, four down-and-out small time drug offenders from Newburgh, NY were convicted on terrorism charges after being setup by the FBI. The presiding judge on the case even recognized there more than likely would not have been a crime if it wasn’t for the involvement of FBI.
The Government Instigating Crime
On sentencing the four, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon said:
“I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it and brought it to fruition” (3).
Despite this (rare) admission of something being very much amiss in the case of the prosecution, she still sentenced all of the men to 25 years in prison!
Just a few months ago, five men were arrested in Cleveland, Ohio after attempting to bomb a bridge linking two wealthy suburbs. Again, the men had been infiltrated by undercover FBI agents over a period of many months, leaving us wondering if they would have got that far without any FBI involvement.
According to the Center on National Security at Fordham University in New York, there have been 138 such sting operations since the September 11th terror attacks in 2001, with 51 of those operations coming in just the last three years (4).
With a conviction rate of 91%, we are left wondering if the FBI are focused more on catching real terrorists, or are more interested in creating them in order to generate these dubious success stories.