Entrapment/Manufactured Charges/Agent Provocateurs Prosecutions

  • Trump’s first terror arrest: a broke stoner the FBI threatened at knifepoint

    Source: The Intercept. The Department of Justice proudly announced the first FBI terror arrest of the Trump administration on Tuesday: an elaborate sting operation that snared a 25-year-old Missouri man who had no terrorism contacts besides the two undercover FBI agents who paid him to buy hardware supplies they said was for a bomb — and who at one point pulled a knife on him and threatened his family. Robert Lorenzo Hester of Columbia, Missouri, is now in federal custody on charges of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. If convicted on the charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

     
  • How an American ended up accused of aiding ISIS with gift cards

    Source: The New York Times. The prosecution of Nick Young, the only law enforcement officer among more than 100 Americans who have been accused of helping the Islamic State, offers a revealing look at the F.B.I.’s shadowy cat-and-mouse efforts to identify possible Islamic extremists. He is charged with providing “material support” to the Islamic State, in the form of $245 worth of Google Play gift cards. The authorities say he gave the gift cards to a Muslim friend named Mo — in reality, an undercover informant — to support recruitment for the terrorist group. Mr. Young’s lawyer claims that the F.B.I. entrapped him, with undercover operatives popping in and out of his life for at least six years.

     
  • 13 years for ex-high school student in plot to join al Qaeda

    Source: SFGate. Justin Kaliebe, who as a teenager was seen on surveillance video proclaiming his commitment to jihad was sentenced on Tuesday to 13 years in prison despite his tearful pleas to a judge that he was a disillusioned and immature high school student at the time he plotted to join al Qaeda. Kaliebe was a 16-year-old high school student who had recently converted to Islam from Roman Catholicism when he landed on the radar of undercover agents on the hunt for would-be radicals on suburban Long Island. FBI agents and New York City police officers watched him for 18 months before arresting him four years ago. Kaliebe’s attorney argued he has Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum, and had developmental and psychological issues and a troubled home life.

     
  • Man accused of recruiting for Islamic State faces trial

    Source: Associated Press. U.S. prosecutors are counting on the social media postings of an Arizona man to help persuade a jury that he was a recruiter for Islamic State militants. Ahmed Mohammed el-Gammal, who lived in Avondale, a Phoenix suburb, faces trial on charges that he helped a 24-year-old New Yorker link up with Islamic State fighters in 2015. El-Gammal was arrested in Arizona in August of 2015, and is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

     
  • Suffolk man charged with trying to support Islamic State wanted shootout with FBI, feds say

    Source: The Virginian-Pilot. Lionel Nelson Williams, 26, was arrested last month and indicted Wednesday on one charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years. Assistant Federal Public Defender Keith Kimball argued that the FBI entrapped his client. He said the First Amendment allows Williams to express support for the Islamic State, and he questioned whether his client started talking about martyrdom only because the FBI led him that way.

     
  • Man who admitted to plotting US attacks to be sentenced

    Source: Associated Press. An Ohio man, Munir Abdulkader, faces sentencing after pleading guilty to charges that he plotted attacks against a member of the U.S. military and a police station in support of the Islamic State group. Court documents said 22-year-old Abdulkader pleaded guilty to attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States, providing material support of a foreign terrorist organization and to a firearms count. A former CIA operations officer who has written extensively about terrorist organizations has claimed that Abdulkader was unfairly set up. In a court filing, Marc Sageman argued that the FBI’s use of a confidential source gave Abdulkader means to commit an attack that he wasn’t able to carry out without the government’s involvement.

     
  • Arizona man accused of terrorism changes his plea to guilty

    Source: Associated Press. Mahin Khan, 18, pleaded guilty to terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons, Maricopa County Superior Court officials said. Under a plea deal with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Khan reportedly will serve a prison term of no less than five years and no more than 10 years and three months on the conspiracy to commit terrorism charge. Khan wanted to attack a motor vehicle office in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa and allegedly instructed an undercover FBI employee to start building homemade grenades, authorities said. Khan’s parents later sent a letter to a Tucson TV station stating that their son is autistic and doesn’t have the mental capacity to carry out any of the acts he was accused of planning.

     
  • Held on charges of supporting ISIS, he says the FBI trapped him in its own terror plot

    Source: The Washington Post. The man at the Maryland shooting range introduced himself as a native of Iraq. He tried to be friendly with Nelash Das, telling the young man that he, too, was Muslim, by Das’s account. As weeks went by, they spent more and more time together, going to the shooting range, sharing meals and celebrating the holy holiday of Eid. Eventually, federal officials say, they also plotted to kill a member of the U.S. military. But when law enforcement intervened in suburban Washington on Sept. 30, the day of the planned attack, Das was arrested and held on charges of supporting terrorism, while the man who had befriended him went free. The purported Iraqi from the gun range, according to Das and federal court papers, was a paid confidential source working for the FBI. Nelash Das told The Washington Post he thinks he was unfairly set up and badgered into a scheme by the U.S. government. In a phone call Wednesday, Das said the informant manipulated his emotions, showed him videos sympathetic to the Islamic State and hounded him into taking part in a supposed terrorist plot targeting the military

     
  • Police captain’s son charged with plotting ISIS-inspired attack

    Source: Boston Globe. Alexander Ciccolo, 23, was initially charged last summer in federal court in Springfield with unlawfully possessing guns in connection with a plot to carry out an attack at an unnamed state university. On Thursday, a grand jury indicted him on additional charges of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State terrorist group, as well as the attempted use of weapons of mass destruction. Ciccolo is the son of Boston police Captain Robert Ciccolo, who set the FBI investigation in motion in the fall of 2014 when he told agents that his son has a history of mental illness and had expressed a desire to fight with the Islamic State in Iraq or Syria.

     
  • F.B.I. steps up use of stings in ISIS cases

    Source: The New York Times. The F.B.I. has significantly increased its use of stings in terrorism cases, employing agents and informants to pose as jihadists, bomb makers, gun dealers or online “friends” in hundreds of investigations into Americans suspected of supporting the Islamic State, records and interviews show. The increase in the number of these secret operations, which put operatives in the middle of purported plots, has come with little public or congressional scrutiny, and the stings rely on F.B.I. guidelines that predate the rise of the Islamic State. While F.B.I. officials say they are careful to avoid illegally entrapping suspects, their undercover operatives are far from bystanders. In recent investigations from Florida to California, agents have helped people suspected of being extremists acquire weapons, scope out bombing targets and find the best routes to Syria to join the Islamic State, records show.