Man Asked Police To Protect Him From ‘CIA Handlers’

Man Accused of Planning Gay Attacks Asks Cops To Protect Him From ‘CIA Handlers’.

Man planning more gay attacks in California asks police to protect him from his CIA handlers

June 20, 2016 by Sean Adl-Tabatabai in News, US YourNewsWire.com

Two Santa Monica police officers have been issued gagging orders following claims that a suspect planning more gay attacks in California pleaded with cops to protect him from his alleged “CIA handlers”.

 According to police insiders, James Wesley Howell, the Indiana man who was caught with explosives and weapons on during gay pride in Santa Monica last week, claimed he had been set up by the CIA.

Getoffthebs.com reports:

According to the LA Times, Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks initially said on Twitter that the 20-year-old Indiana man (James Howell) told one of her officers after he was arrested that he wanted “to harm the Gay Pride event.”

However, after the FBI quickly took over the case, a Santa Monica police spokesman Saul Rodriguez indicated that Seabrooks was mistaken and offered that the Santa Monica detectives who were working the case are “not aware of what the suspect’s intentions were at this point.”

 The official version of this story released by the LA Times falsely claims that on early Sunday, Santa Monica police received a call about a suspected prowler who was knocking on a resident’s door and window about 5 a.m. in the 1700 block of 11th Street, Santa Monica police said.

Patrol officers responded and encountered Howell, who was sitting in a car registered in Indiana, police said. Officers inspected the car and found three assault rifles, high-capacity ammunition and a 5-gallon bucket containing “chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device,” police said.

 A law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the contents of the bucket included Tannerite, an ingredient that could be used to create pipe bombs.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation, said authorities also found camouflage clothing in the car.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said the suspect told police he was going to the Pride parade to look for a friend. Authorities were looking for that individual.

CIA-santa-monica-terrorist-tweet

The real truth of the story was released to a former Los Angeles County prosecutor who works for Get Off the BS by two Santa Monica police officers that have been issued gag orders under threat of Federal prosecution for talking further talking about the incident.

According to two department sources, Howell called the Santa Monica police on Sunday morning claiming that he needed protection from the CIA. Howell further elaborated to the dispatcher stating that he “had been set up by the CIA – they are going to kill me.”

According to Howell, he was in LA to meet with another person in a collaborated attack on the gay communities in both Florida and Los Angeles.

Howell additionally stated that, “everything has gone south. Dan was gone when I got here. They killed the leader of the Florida attack this morning. They are going to kill me. I need protection.”

According to sources within the police department’s investigation Howell indicated to officers who first made contact with him that Howell claimed he was one of five people involved in a planned Sunday attack on both the east and west coasts.

Howell stated that he was suppose to “hook up” late Saturday night with his contact in LA who was suppose to have more weapons and chemicals to mix with the Tannerite he was in possession of.

“When I got here, Dan was gone. I went to his apartment and he had cleared out….I tried calling him but he never answered me,” said Howell.

When questioned about the other four people involved in the plot, Howell was only familiar with the first names of three of the alleged suspects, naming his contact in LA – Dan and two of the three contacts in Florida, Omar and Brandy

Speaking of the suspect killed in the Pulse Bar massacre in Florida, Howell stated, “Omar was not suppose to be killed. They lied to us – Omar and Brandy were suppose to get away.”

When Howell was questioned about how he and his conspirators knew each other, he said that,

“We were all familiar with each other through an online fundamental Islamic knowledge seminary course[1] – we were recruited through the course and trained together at a camp in Virginia – we were taught how to shoot and make bombs – everyone knew their part – something went wrong….”

Before the officers could further question Howell, agents working for the Los Angeles office of the FBI quickly swept in and took over the case. Santa Monica detectives were never allowed to talk with Howell.

In summary, it appears that Howell was on his way to “hook up” with another conspirator (Dan) to set off explosives and shoot people at the gay pride parade in Hollywood California on Sunday.

Finding his contact missing when he got to LA and having heard that Omar Matteen had been killed by a FBI SWAT teem in Orlando, Howell determined he had been double crossed by the CIA and feared for his own life.

Howell was taken in to custody by the FBI before Santa Monica police officers could further question him about the motives behind killing gay people on both coasts of the US on Sunday.

However, in absence of further information and or anyone who will officially go on the record, there is no doubt that the America public is not being told the truth about the Orlando Florida shooting and the arrest of Howell on Sunday.

It is a shame that the Fed’s got to the Santa Monica police chief on Sunday before she was silenced, however we are very thankful that at least two officers have risked their jobs and freedom to reveal what she would of most likely Tweeted had the Fed’s not got to her.

santa monica preff

Sign Up JOIN & Follow our Social Networks 


SnapChat: LukeWeAreChangelogo595x300
fbook: https://facebook.com/LukeWeAreChange
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lukewearechange

Instagram: http://instagram.com/lukewearechange


Don’t Forget WE ARE CHANGE is completely INDEPENDENT &
We Need Your Help To Speak Truth 2 Power .. 

Police Don’t Need To Know The Laws They Enforce

Gun Store Owner Alerted FBI to Orlando Shooter

Orlando 2nd shooter preff

The owner of a Florida gun store said he tried to alert the FBI to a “very suspicious” man later identified as Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen after Mateen tried to buy body armor and bulk ammunition from the store.

Robert Abell, a co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida, told ABC News today that a man entered the store five or six weeks ago and asked specific questions about high-end body armor. When employees said the store didn’t carry the body armor he wanted, Abell said, the man made a phone call in a foreign language, hung up and then asked about ammunition in bulk.

Abell said a member of his staff thought the questions were “odd” and made him uncomfortable, so he turned the man away.

Abell added that they thought the man was “very suspicious,” so they called the local FBI office in West Palm Beach and reported the incident. But they didn’t have the man’s name, since no sale was made, and the only surveillance footage they had was grainy.

“We gave them information and everything that took place, and that was the end of the conversation,” he said.

There was a follow-up conversation with agents, Abell said, but the FBI never visited the store or investigated further.

That was the end of it until he saw the news about the Orlando shooting that took place early Sunday morning and images of the man identified as the killer: Mateen, the man who Abell said was in the store.

“He slipped through the cracks,” Abell said.

He said his staffers contacted the FBI after the shooting to remind them about their run-in with the suspicious man. The store’s surveillance tape, however, had long since been overwritten, he said.

Public affairs officials for the FBI’s Miami field office, which oversees the West Palm Beach satellite office, and at headquarters in Washington, D.C., did not immediately return requests for comment from ABC News.

Earlier this week the FBI faced sharp questions for having investigated Mateen twice in 2013 and 2014 for purported ties to extremists and determining that he was not a threat. After reviewing those investigations, FBI Director James Comey said Monday he hadn’t seen anything that his “agents should have done differently.”

Comey also stressed the law enforcement motto “See something, say something.”

Abell said he thought his team had “done [its] job” after contacting authorities.

Mateen, 29, began his attack on a popular gay Orlando nightclub at around 2 a.m. Sunday. At some point that morning, he posted on Facebook his allegiance to ISIS, a demand that the U.S. and Russia to “stop bombing” the Syrian-based terrorist group and a warning of attacks to come, FBI officials said.

“You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance,” Mateen posted, according to officials in the FBI’s counterterrorism division. “In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic State in the usa.”

ORLANDO Police shooting

 

Manufactured Terrorism The Orlando Santa Monica Connection !

Understanding the Big Picture

Howell Says CIA and Four Other Suspects were Involved in Planned Sunday Massacres

Sources within the Santa Monica police department claim that James Wesley Howell, an Indiana man who was caught with explosives and weapons on Sunday Morning, told the Santa Monica police that as many as five people were involved in planned attacks on gay communities in both Florida and California.

According to the LA Times, Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks initially said on Twitter that the 20-year-old Indiana man (James Howell) told one of her officers after he was arrested that he wanted “to harm the Gay Pride event.”

However, after the FBI quickly took over the case, a Santa Monica police spokesman Saul Rodriguez indicated that Seabrooks was mistaken and offered that the Santa Monica detectives who were working the case are “not aware of what the suspect’s intentions were at this point.”

You want proof? Call the Santa Monica PD, they released this story. SMH
Address: 333 Olympic Dr, Santa Monica, CA 90401 Phone:(310) 395-9931
Please share this vigorously and help me fight this false flag event.

THWARTED LOS ANGELES GAY PRIDE KILLER JAMES HOWELL SAYS HE WAS A CO-CIA OPERATIVE WITH OMAR MATEEN AND OTHERS TO ATTACK GAYS IN CALIFORNIA AND FLORIDA !

The official version of this story released by the LA Times falsely claims that on early Sunday, Santa Monica police received a call about a suspected prowler who was knocking on a resident’s door and window about 5 a.m. in the 1700 block of 11th Street, Santa Monica police said.

Patrol officers responded and encountered Howell, who was sitting in a car registered in Indiana, police said. Officers inspected the car and found three assault rifles, high-capacity ammunition and a 5-gallon bucket containing “chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device,” police said.

A law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the contents of the bucket included Tannerite, an ingredient that could be used to create pipe bombs.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation, said authorities also found camouflage clothing in the car.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said the suspect told police he was going to the Pride parade to look for a friend. Authorities were looking for that individual.

Really? Police chiefs make these kind of errors everyday - LMAO

Do police chiefs make these kind of errors everyday?

The real truth of the story was released to a former Los Angeles County prosecutor who works for Get Off the BS by two Santa Monica police officers that have been issued gag orders under threat of Federal prosecution for talking further talking about the incident.

According to two department sources, Howell called the Santa Monica police on Sunday morning claiming that he needed protection from the CIA. Howell further elaborated to the dispatcher stating that he “had been set up by the CIA – they are going to kill me.”

According to Howell, he was in LA to meet with another person in a collaborated attack on the gay communities in both Florida and Los Angeles.

Howell additionally stated that, “everything has gone south. Dan was gone when I got here. They killed the leader of the Florida attack this morning. They are going to kill me. I need protection.”

According to sources within the police department’s investigation Howell indicated to officers who first made contact with him that Howell claimed he was one of five people involved in a planned Sunday attack on both the east and west coasts.

Howell stated that he was suppose to “hook up” late Saturday night with his contact in LA who was suppose to have more weapons and chemicals to mix with the Tannerite he was in possession of.

“When I got here, Dan was gone. I went to his apartment and he had cleared out….I tried calling him but he never answered me,” said Howell.

When questioned about the other four people involved in the plot, Howell was only familiar with the first names of three of the alleged suspects, naming his contact in LA – Dan and two of the three contacts in Florida, Omar and Brandy

Speaking of the suspect killed in the Pulse Bar massacre in Florida, Howell stated, “Omar was not suppose to be killed. They lied to us – Omar and Brandy were suppose to get away.”

When Howell was questioned about how he and his conspirators knew each other, he said that,

“We were all familiar with each other through an online fundamental Islamic knowledge seminary course[1] – we were recruited through the course and trained together at a camp in Virginia – we were taught how to shoot and make bombs – everyone knew their part – something went wrong….”

Before the officers could further question Howell, agents working for the Los Angeles office of the FBI quickly swept in and took over the case. Santa Monica detectives were never allowed to talk with Howell.

In summary, it appears that Howell was on his way to “hook up” with another conspirator (Dan) to set off explosives and shoot people at the gay pride parade in Hollywood California on Sunday.Nigera Televison meme

Finding his contact missing when he got to LA and having heard that Omar Matteen had been killed by a FBI SWAT teem in Orlando, Howell determined he had been double crossed by the CIA and feared for his own life
.

Howell was taken in to custody by the FBI before Santa Monica police officers could further question him about the motives behind killing gay people on both coasts of the US on Sunday.

However, in absence of further information and or anyone who will officially go on the record, there is no doubt that the America public is not being told the truth about the Orlando Florida shooting and the arrest of Howell on Sunday.

It is a shame that the Fed’s got to the Santa Monica police chief on Sunday before she was silenced, however we are very thankful that at least two officers have risked their jobs and freedom to reveal what she would of most likely Tweeted had the Fed’s not got to her.

Would you like to make odds that it was just a “coincidence” as the mainstream media reports, that Howell armed to the teeth with assault rifles and explosives, was on his way to a gay pride parade the same day as the massacre in Florida?

This Post made with Assistance of  Truthcatradio #truthcat #truthcats #truthcatradio
Follow CIA/NSA contractor and wistleblower Steven D Kelley

Shortly after the posting of this story, Main-Stream USA News shed light on the Online Islamic Fundamental course Howell spoke of.

Omar Mateen Did Not Act Alone!

Second Suspect Confirmed in Orlando Shooting

ORLANDO SHOOTER’S DAD WAS A LONGTIME CIA ASSET!

Police Officers Admit To Gunning Down Orlando Nightclub Patrons!

More

Links between Shooting events. All CIA patsies.

Omar Mateen: Orlando gunman was familiar face at club, performer says

Trump Right Again Omar Matteens’ Wife Had Prior Knowledge Of Orlando Massacre

FBI Introduced Florida Shooter to “Informants”


SnapChat: LukeWeAreChangelogo595x300
fbook: https://facebook.com/LukeWeAreChange
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lukewearechange

Instagram: http://instagram.com/lukewearechange


Sign up become a patron and Show your support for alternative news

for Just 1$ a month you can help Grow We are change
patreon
We use Bitcoin Too !  
12HdLgeeuA87t2JU8m4tbRo247Yj5u2TVP
Wearechange.org/donate

Visit The Gear Store Wearechange.org/gear

Related:

Full Breakdown: What You Need To Know About The Orlando Shooting

David Petraeus Caught At Bilderberg 2016, Runs Away From Questions

Day 3: Breaking Up the Bilderberg’s Luncheon

©WEareCHANGE.org (2016)

Why Mass Surveillance Will Never Stop A Terrorist

Why Mass Surveillance Can’t, Won’t, And Never Has Stopped A Terrorist

If the recent terror attacks in Orlando  can teach us anything it’s that mass survalance and terrorist watch list do not work. The Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was placed on a terrorist watch list maintained by the FBI. According to state records he was also a licensed security guard and held a firearms license.

“The FBI investigated Omar on multiple levels and even put him on a government watch list for a period of time but eventually closed the inquiries because there wasn’t enough evidence to connect him to terror cells. The FBI’s investigation into Mateen lasted 10 for months. According to FBI Director James Comey “Agents used multiple tactics, including having confidential sources talk with him, reviewing his electronic communications and interviewing him twice. 

“In two interviews with the FBI, Comey said, Mateen indicated that he made statements about connections with terrorists “because he thought his co-workers were discriminating against him and teasing him because he was Muslim.”

According to the FBI there are no indications at this time that Mateen’s attack was directed by a terrorist group and that the 29-year-old appeared radicalized in part by propaganda on the internet.

Mateen didn’t appear to have a coherent allegiance to any particular group, Comey said, “which adds a little bit to the confusion about his motives.” He professed support for different terrorists, from Islamic State to al-Nusra and Hezbollah — all of which are at odds with each other.

Again and again since 9/11, after the Underwear Bomber, after the Boston Marathon bombings — government is criticized for not connecting the dots. However, this is a terribly misleading metaphor. Connecting the dots in a coloring book is easy, because they’re all numbered and visible. In real life, the dots can only be recognized after the fact.

Millions of people behave strangely enough to attract the FBI’s notice, and almost all of them are harmless. The TSA’s no-fly list has over 20,000 people on it. The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, also known as the watch list, has 680,000, 40% of whom have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”

Data mining is offered as the technique that will enable us to connect those dots. But while corporations are successfully mining our personal data in order to target advertising, detect financial fraud, and perform other tasks, three critical issues make data mining an inappropriate tool for finding terrorists.

Finding terrorists requires a much higher degree of accuracy than data-mining systems can possibly provide.

A recent poll demonstrates that their sentiments are widely shared in the wake of the attack.

  • 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab—i.e., the “underwear bomber”—nearly succeeded in downing the airline he was on over Detroit because, according to then-National Counterterrorism Center (NCC) director Michael Leiter, the federal Intelligence Community (IC) failed “to connect, integrate, and fully understand the intelligence” it had collected.
  • 2009: Army Major Nidal Hasan was able to conduct his deadly, Anwar al-Awlaki-inspired rampage at Ft. Hood, Texas, because the FBI bungled its Hasan investigation.
  • 2013: The Boston Marathon bombing happened, at least in part, because the CIA, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, NCC, and National Security Agency (NSA) failed to properly coordinate and share information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family, associations, and travel to and from Russia in 2012. Those failures were detailed in a 2014 report prepared by the Inspectors General of the IC, Department of Justice, CIA, and DHS.
  • 2014: The Charlie Hebdo and French grocery store attackers were not only known to French and U.S. authorities but one had a prior terrorism conviction and another was monitored for years by French authorities until less than a year before the attack on the magazine.
  • 2016: Orlando Nightclub The FBI opened a preliminary investigation into the shooter that lasted for 10 months,

No, mass surveillance does not prevent terrorist attacks.

It’s worth remembering that the mass surveillance programs initiated by the U.S. government after the 9/11 attacks—the legal ones and the constitutionally-dubious ones—were premised on the belief that bin Laden’s hijacker-terrorists were able to pull off the attacks because of a failure to collect enough data. Yet in their subsequent reports on the attacks, the Congressional Joint Inquiry (2002) and the 9/11 Commission found exactly the opposite. The data to detect (and thus foil) the plots was in the U.S. government’s hands prior to the attacks; the failures were ones of sharing, analysis, and dissemination. That malady perfectly describes every intelligence failure from Pearl Harbor to the present day.


“We don’t keep people under investigation indefinitely,” Comey said.


The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (created by Congress in 2004) was supposed to be the answer to the “failure-to-connect-the-dots” problem. Ten years on, the problem remains, the IC bureaucracy is bigger than ever, and our government is continuing to rely on mass surveillance programs that have failed time and again to stop terrorists while simultaneously undermining the civil liberties and personal privacy of every American. The quest to “collect it all,” to borrow a phrase from NSA Director Keith Alexander, only leads to the accumulation of masses of useless information, making it harder to find real threats and costing billions to store.

A recent Guardian editorial noted that such mass-surveillance myopia is spreading among European political leaders as well, despite the fact that “terrorists, from 9/11 to the Woolwich jihadists and the neo-Nazi Anders Breivik, have almost always come to the authorities’ attention before the acts they commit.”

Mass surveillance is not only destructive of our liberties, its continued use is a virtual guarantee of more lethal intelligence failures. And our continued will to disbelieve those facts is a mental dodge we engage in at our own destruction.

Danny F. Quest is a official 9/11 Truther, anti-war activist, humanitarian,  Blogger, and writer/contributer  for WeareChange.org  Follow him on Social Media.


SnapChat: LukeWeAreChangelogo595x300
fbook: https://facebook.com/LukeWeAreChange
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lukewearechange

Instagram: http://instagram.com/lukewearechange


Sign up become a patron and Show your support for alternative news

for Just 1$ a month you can help Grow We are change
patreon
We use Bitcoin Too !  
12HdLgeeuA87t2JU8m4tbRo247Yj5u2TVP
Wearechange.org/donate

Visit The Gear Store Wearechange.org/gear

Related:

Full Breakdown: What You Need To Know About The Orlando Shooting

David Petraeus Caught At Bilderberg 2016, Runs Away From Questions

Day 3: Breaking Up the Bilderberg’s Luncheon

©WEareCHANGE.org (2016)

 

How the FBI Creates It’s Own Terror Plots

Inside the Terror Factory an Award-winning journalist digs deep into the FBI’s massive efforts to create fake terrorist plots.

The right-wing domestic terror plot you didn’t hear about this week

 Editor’s note: This story is adapted from The Terror Factory, Trevor Aaronson’s new book documenting how the Federal Bureau of Investigation  FBI has built a vast network of informants to infiltrate Muslim communities and, in some cases, cultivate phony terrorist plots. The book grew from Aaronson’s award-winning Mother Jones cover story “The Informants” and his research in the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley.

Quazi Mohammad Nafis was a 21-year-old student living in Queens, New York, when the US government helped turn him into a terrorist.

His transformation began on July 5, when Nafis, a Bangladeshi citizen who’d come to the United States on a student visa that January, shared aspirations with a man he believed he could trust. Nafis told this man in a phone call that he wanted to wage jihad in the United States, that he enjoyed reading Al Qaeda propaganda, and that he admired “Sheikh O,” or Osama bin Laden. Who this confidant was and how Nafis came to meet him remain unclear; what we know from public documents is that the man told Nafis he could introduce him to an Al Qaeda operative.

It was a hot, sunny day in Central Park on July 24 when Nafis met with Kareem, who said he was with Al Qaeda. Nafis, who had a slight build, mop of black hair, and a feebly grown beard, told Kareem that he was “ready for action.”

“What I really mean is that I don’t want something that’s, like, small,” Nafis said. “I just want something big. Something very big. Very, very, very, very big, that will shake the whole country.”


US Gov’t Agents Involved In Almost Every Major Terror Plot Since 9/11


Nafis said he wanted to bomb the New York Stock Exchange, and with help from his new Al Qaeda contact, he surveilled the iconic building at 11 Wall Street. “We are going to need a lot of TNT or dynamite,” Nafis told Kareem. But Nafis didn’t have any explosives, and, as court records indicate, he didn’t know anyone who could sell him explosives, let alone have the money to purchase such materials. His father, a banker in Bangladesh, had spent his entire life savings to send Nafis to the United States after his son, who was described to journalists as dim by people who knew him in his native country, had flunked out of North South University in Bangladesh.

Kareem suggested they rent a storage facility to stash the material they’d need for a car bomb. He said he’d put up the money for it, and get the materials. Nafis dutifully agreed, and suggested a new target: the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Nafis later met Kareem at a storage facility, where Nafis poured the materials Kareem had brought into trash bins, believing he was creating a 1,000-pound car bomb that could level a city block.

In truth, the stuff was inert. And Kareem was an undercover FBI agent, tipped off by the man who Nafis had believed was a confidant—an FBI informant. The FBI had secretly provided everything Nafis needed for his attack: not only the storage facility and supposed explosives, but also the detonator and the van that Nafis believed would deliver the bomb.

On the morning of October 17, Nafis and Kareem drove the van to Lower Manhattan and parked it in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street. Then they walked to a nearby hotel room, where Nafis dialed on his cellphone the number he believed would trigger the bomb, but nothing happened. He dialed again, and again. The only result was Nafis’ apprehension by federal agents.

“The defendant thought he was striking a blow to the American economy,” US Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement after the arrest. “At every turn, he was wrong, and his extensive efforts to strike at the heart of the nation’s financial system were foiled by effective law enforcement. We will use all of the tools at our disposal to stop any such attack before it can occur.”

How many of these would-be terrorists would have acted were it not for an FBI agent provocateur helping them? Is it possible that the FBI is creating the very enemy we fear?

Federal officials say they are protecting Americans with these operations—but from whom? Real terrorists, or dupes like Nafis, who appear unlikely to have the capacity for terrorism were it not for FBI agents providing the opportunity and means?

Nafis is one of more than 150 men since 9/11 who have been caught in FBI terrorism stings, some of whom have received 25 years or more in prison. In these cases, the FBI uses one of its more than 15,000 registered informants—many of them criminals, others trying to stay in the country following immigration violations—to identify potential terrorists. It then provides the means necessary for these would-be terrorists to move forward with a plot—in some cases even planting specific ideas for attacks. The FBI now spends $3 billion on counterterrorism annually, the largest portion of its budget. Our nation’s top law enforcement agency, traditionally focused on investigating crimes after they occur, now operates more as an intelligence organization that tries to preempt crimes before they occur. But how many of these would-be terrorists would have acted were it not for an FBI agent provocateur helping them? Is it possible that the FBI is creating the very enemy we fear?

Those are the questions I set out to explore beginning in 2010. With the help of a research assistant, I built a database of more than 500 terrorism prosecutions since 9/11, looking closely and critically at every terrorism case brought into federal courts during the past decade. We pored through thousands of pages of court records, and found that nearly half of all terrorism cases since 9/11 involved informants, many of them paid as much as $100,000 per assignment by the FBI. At the time of the story’s publication in Mother Jones in August 2011, 49 defendants had participated in plots led by an FBI agent provocateur, and that number has continued to rise since.

Historically, media coverage of these operations—begun under George W. Bush and continuing apace under Barack Obama—was mostly uncritical. With their aggressive tactics essentially unknown to the public, the FBI and Justice Department controlled the narrative: another dangerous terrorist apprehended by vigilant federal agents!

But in late 2011, the conversation began to shift. A couple of months after my story in Mother Jones and following the announcement of a far-fetched sting in which a Massachusetts man believed he’d been poised to destroy the US Capitol building using grenade-laden, remote-controlled airplanes, TPM Muckraker published a story headlined: “The Five Most Bizarre Terror Plots Hatched Under the FBI’s Watch.” Author David K. Shipler, in an April 2012 New York Times editorial, questioned the legitimacy of terrorism stings involving people who appeared to have no wherewithal to commit acts of terror: “Some threats are real, others less so. In terrorism, it’s not easy to tell the difference.” Stories in other major news outlets followed suit, and by October 2012, a post in Foreign Policy was asking: “How many idiot jihadis can the FBI fool?

Which brings us back to Nafis. “The case appears to be the latest to fit a model in which, in the process of flushing out people they believe present a risk of terrorism, federal law enforcement officials have played the role of enabler,” reported the New York Times, after the Justice Department announced Nafis’ arrest. “Though these operations have almost always held up in court, they have come under increasing criticism from those who believe that many of the subjects, even some who openly espoused violence, would have been unable to execute such plots without substantial assistance from the government.”

In the years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal law enforcement profile of a terrorist has changed dramatically. The men responsible for downing the World Trade Center were disciplined and patient; they were also living and training in the United States with money from an Al Qaeda cell led by Kuwaiti-born Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. In the days and weeks following 9/11, federal officials anxiously awaited a second wave of attacks, which would be launched, they believed at the time, by several sleeper cells around the country.

Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born, high-ranking Al Qaeda official became something of the terrorist group’s Dear Abby. Have a question about Islam? Ask Anwar!

But the feared second wave never crashed ashore. Instead, the United States and allied nations invaded Afghanistan, Al Qaeda’s home base, and forced Osama bin Laden and his deputies into hiding. Bruised and hunted, Al Qaeda no longer had the capability to train terrorists and send them to the United States.

In response, Al Qaeda’s leaders moved to what FBI officials describe as a “franchise model.” If you can’t run Al Qaeda as a hierarchal, centrally organized outfit, the theory went, run it as a franchise. In other words, export ideas—not terrorists. Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations went online, setting up websites and forums dedicated to instilling their beliefs in disenfranchised Muslims already living in Western nations. A slickly designed magazine, appropriately titled Inspire, quickly followed. Article headlines included “I Am Proud to Be a Traitor to America,” and “Why Did I Choose Al-Qaeda?”

Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born, high-ranking Al Qaeda official who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011, became something of the terrorist group’s Dear Abby. Have a question about Islam? Ask Anwar! Muslim men in nations throughout the Western world would email him questions, and Awlaki would reply dutifully, and in English, encouraging many of his electronic pen pals to violent action. Awlaki also kept a blog and a Facebook page, and regularly posted recruitment videos to YouTube. He said in one video:

I specifically invite the youth to either fight in the West or join their brothers in the fronts of jihad: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. I invite them to join us in our new front, Yemen, the base from which the great jihad of the Arabian Peninsula will begin, the base from which the greatest army of Islam will march forth.

Al Qaeda’s move to a franchise model met with some success. US Army Major Nadal Hassan, for example, corresponded with Awlaki before he killed 13 people and wounded 29 others in the Fort Hood shootings in 2009. Antonio Martinez, a Baltimore man and recent convert to Islam who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for trying to bomb a military recruiting office, sent Awlaki messages and watched Al Qaeda propaganda videos online before getting wrapped up in an FBI sting operation.

The FBI has a term for Nafis, Martinez, and other alleged terrorists like them: lone wolf. Officials at the Bureau now believe that the next terrorist attack will likely come from a lone wolf, and this belief is at the core of a federal law enforcement policy known variously as preemption, prevention, and disruption. FBI counterterrorism agents want to catch terrorists before they act, and to accomplish this, federal law enforcement officials have in the decade since 9/11 created the largest domestic spying network ever to exist in the United States.

In fact, the FBI today has 10 times as many informants as it did in the 1960s, when former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made the Bureau infamous for inserting spies into organizations as varied as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s and the Ku Klux Klan. Modern FBI informants aren’t burrowing into political groups, however; they are focused on identifying today the terrorist of tomorrow. US government officials acknowledge that while terrorist threats do exist from domestic organizations, such as white supremacist groups and the sovereign citizen movement, they believe the greatest threat comes from within American Muslim communities.

The FBI’s vast army of spies, located today in every community in the United States with enough Muslims to support a mosque, has one primary function: identify the next lone wolf, likely to be a single male age 16 to 35, according to the Bureau. Informants and their FBI handlers are on the lookout for young Muslims who espouse radical beliefs, are vocal about their disapproval of American foreign policy, or have expressed sympathy for international terrorist groups. If they find anyone who meets the criteria, they move him to the next stage: the sting operation.

The terrorism sting operations are an evolution of an FBI tactic that has long captured the imaginations of Hollywood filmmakers: undercover drug busts.

On a cold February morning in 2011, I met with Peter Ahearn, a retired FBI special agent who directed the Western New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, in a coffee shop outside Washington, DC, to talk about how the FBI runs its sting operations. Ahearn was in the bureau’s vanguard as it transformed into a counterterrorism organization in the wake of 9/11. An average-built man with a small dimple on his chin and close-cropped brown hair receding in the front, Ahearn oversaw one of the earliest post-9/11 terrorism investigations, involving the so-called Lackawanna Six—a group of six Yemeni American men living outside Buffalo, New York, who attended a training camp in Afghanistan and were convicted of providing material support to Al Qaeda. “If you’re doing a sting right, you’re offering the target multiple chances to back out,” Ahearn told me. “Real people don’t say, ‘Yeah, let’s go bomb that place.’ Real people call the cops.”

Indeed, while terrorism sting operations are a new practice for the bureau, they are an evolution of an FBI tactic that has for decades captured the imaginations of Hollywood filmmakers. In 1982, as the illegal drug trade overwhelmed local police resources nationwide and funded an increase in violent crime, President Ronald Reagan’s first attorney general, William French Smith, gave the FBI jurisdiction over federal drug crimes, which previously had been the exclusive domain of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Eager to show up their DEA rivals, FBI agents began aggressively sending undercover agents into America’s cities. This was relatively new territory for the FBI, which during Hoover’s 37-year stewardship had mandated that agents wear a suit and tie at all times, federal law enforcement badge easily accessible from the coat pocket. But an increasingly powerful Mafia and the bloody drug war forced the FBI to begin enforcing federal laws from the street level. In searching for drug crimes, FBI agents hunted sellers as well as buyers, and soon learned one of the best strategies was to become part of the action.

At its most cliché, the Hollywood version of this scene is set in a Miami high-rise apartment, its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the cresting waves of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a man seated at the dining table; he’s longhaired, with a scruffy face, and he has a briefcase next to him. Hidden on the other side of the room is a grainy black-and-white camera recording the entire scene. The apartment’s door swings open and two men saunter in, the camera recording their every move and word. The two men hand over bundles of cash, and the scruffy man then hands over the briefcase. But instead of finding pounds of cocaine inside it, the two guests are shocked to find the briefcase is empty—and then FBI agents rush in, guns drawn for the takedown.

Federal law enforcement officials call this type of sting operation a “no-dope bust,” and its the direct predecessor to today’s terrorism sting. Instead of empty briefcases, the FBI today uses inert bombs and disabled assault rifles (and now that counterterrorism is the bureau’s top priority, the investigation of major drug crimes has largely fallen back to the DEA). While the assumptions behind both types of stings are similar, there is a fundamental flaw as applied to terrorism stings. In drug stings, federal law enforcement officials assume that any buyer caught in a sting would have been able to buy or sell drugs elsewhere had they not fallen into the FBI trap. The numbers support this assumption. In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, the DEA seized 29,179 kilograms, or 64,328 pounds, of cocaine in the United States.

In terrorism stings, however, federal law enforcement officials assume that any would-be terrorists caught would have been able to acquire the means elsewhere to carry out their violent plans had they not been ensnared by the FBI. The problem with this assumption is that no data exists to support it—and in fact what data is available often suggests the opposite.

Few of the more than 150 defendants indicted and convicted this way since 9/11 had any connection to terrorists, evidence showed, and those that did have connections, however tangential, lacked the capacity to launch attacks on their own. Of the more that 150 defendants, an FBI informant not only led one of every three terrorist plots, but also provided all the necessary weapons, money, and transportation.

The informant goaded them on the whole time, encouraging the pair with lines like: “We will teach these bastards a good lesson.” For his work on the case, he received $100,000 from the FBI.

The FBI’s logic to support the use of terrorism stings goes something like this: By catching a lone wolf before he strikes, federal law enforcement can take him off the streets before he meets a real terrorist who can provide him with weapons and munitions. However, to this day, no example exists of a lone wolf, by himself unable to launch an attack, becoming operational through meeting an actual terrorist in the United States. In the terrorism sting operations since 9/11, the would-be terrorists are usually uneducated, unsophisticated, and economically desperate—not the attributes for someone likely to plan and launch a sophisticated, violent attack without significant help.

This isn’t to say there have not been deadly and potentially deadly terrorist attacks and threats in the United States since 9/11. Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian, opened fire on the El-Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport on July 4, 2002, killing two and wounding four. Afghan American Najibullah Zazi, who trained with Al Qaeda in Pakistan in 2008, came close to attacking the New York City subway system in September 2009, with a plan to place backpack bombs on crowded trains coming to and from Grand Central and Times Square stations. Faisal Shahzad, who trained with terrorists in the tribal regions of Pakistan, attempted but failed to detonate a crude car bomb in Times Square on May 1, 2010. While all three were dangerous lone wolves, none fit the profile of would-be terrorists targeted today in FBI terrorism sting operations. Unlike those caught in FBI stings, these three terrorists had international connections and the ability to carry out attacks on their own, however unsuccessful those attacks might have been for Zazi and Shahzad.

By contrast, consider another New York City terrorism conspiracy—the so-called Herald Square bomb plot. Shahawar Matin Siraj, a 22-year-old Pakistani American, struck up a friendship with a seemingly elderly and knowledgeable Islamic scholar named Dawadi at his uncle’s Islamic Books and Tapes shop in Brooklyn. Dawadi was an FBI informant, Osama Eldawoody, who was put on the government payroll in September 2003 to stoke Siraj’s extremist inclinations. Siraj asked if Eldawoody could help him build a nuclear weapon and volunteered that he and a friend, James Elshafay, wanted to detonate a car bomb on one of New York’s bridges. “He’s a terrorist. He wants to harm the country and the people of the country. That’s what I thought immediately,” Eldawoody said in court testimony.

Siraj introduced Dawadi to Elshafay, who had drawn schematics of police stations and bridges on napkins with the hopes of plotting a terrorist attack. Elshafay’s crude drawings prompted Siraj to hatch a new plan that involved the three men, Dawadi’s supposed international connections, and an attack on New York’s Herald Square subway station. The two young men discussed how they’d grown to hate the United States for invading Iraq and torturing prisoners. In Eldawoody’s car, the three of them talked about carrying 20- to 30-pound backpack bombs into the Herald Square subway station and leaving them on the train platform. Their conversations were recorded from a secret camera in the car’s dashboard. From April to August 2004, the men considered targets, surveilled the subway, checked security, and drew diagrams of the station. The informant goaded them on the whole time, encouraging the pair with lines like: “We will teach these bastards a good lesson.” For his work on the case, Eldawoody received $100,000 from the FBI.

The evidence from the sting was enough to win convictions, and Siraj was sentenced to 30 years in prison and Elshafay 5 years. But it was also clear from the trial that Siraj was a dimwitted social recluse—a mother’s boy with little capacity to steal a car on his own, let alone bomb a subway station as part of a spectacular terrorist attack. In fact, Siraj was recorded during the sting operation as saying: “Everyone thinks I’m stupid.”

During Obama’s first term in office, the Justice Department prosecuted more than 75 targets of terrorism stings.

The question underlying the Herald Square case can be asked in dozens of other similar sting operations: Could the defendants have become terrorists had they never met the FBI informant? The answer haunts Martin Stolar, the lawyer who represented Siraj at trial and fully expected to win an acquittal through an entrapment defense. “The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents,” Stolar said. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.”

The practice is only growing. Though developed under the Bush administration, terrorism stings have become even more common under President Obama. While the Bush administration used terrorism stings to its greatest degree in 2006 and 2007—60 defendants were prosecuted and convicted from terrorism stings during those two years—the Justice Department began to shy away from the practice toward the end of Bush’s second term in office. In 2008, Bush’s last year as president, the US didn’t prosecute anyone from a terrorism sting. But when Obama became president in January 2009, the use of sting operations resumed and increased in frequency. During Obama’s first term in office, the Justice Department prosecuted more than 75 targets of terrorism stings.

Obama has been an aggressive president when it comes to national security, successfully disarming the long-standing perception that Democrats are weak on that front. He launched the daring raid that took out Osama bin Laden, has conducted secret wars in Yemen and Somalia, and stepped up extrajudicial killings of terrorist suspects overseas using military drones, for which he has come under sharp criticism from some on the political left. Public opinion polls during his fourth year as president showed that most Americans gave him high marks on national security.

That may help explain why the Obama administration has been so determined to pursue terrorism stings as well. Addressing a gathering of Muslim leaders near San Francisco in December 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder described how the administration believes the ends justify the means. “These types of operations have proven to be an essential law enforcement tool in uncovering and preventing potential terror attacks…And in those terrorism cases where undercover sting operations have been used, there is a lengthy record of convictions,” the attorney general said, adding that “our nation’s law enforcement professionals have consistently demonstrated not just their effectiveness, but also their commitment to the highest standards of professional conduct, integrity, and fairness.”

Today, federal prosecutors announce arrests from terrorism stings at a rate of about one every 60 days, suggesting either that there are a lot of ineffective terrorists in the United States, or that the FBI has become effective at creating the very enemy it is hunting.

Pin It on Pinterest