Entrapment/Manufactured Charges/Agent Provocateurs Prosecutions

  • 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.

  • Terrorism convictions will serve as a warning across the country

    Source: Star Tribune. Terrorism convictions will serve as a warning across the country
    The resounding guilty verdicts and the prospect of life sentences for the three young Somali-American men convicted Friday in Minnesota’s ISIL recruitment trial will likely serve as a stark warning to the 50 or so defendants in similar cases pending across the country: Better not go to trial. The three defendants — Abdirahman Daud, 22; Mohamed Farah, 22, and Guled Omar, 21 — were found guilty Friday of conspiring to support a foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit murder abroad. In ISIL-related cases elsewhere, defendants who pleaded guilty before trial received an average sentence of 10 years in prison.
    But the three Twin Cities men who fought the charges and were found guilty Friday are expected to pay a steep price, perhaps life in prison for the attempted murder convictions.

  • Man whose name surfaced in Minnesota terror trial was real recruiter, says FBI informant

    Source: Joseph Sabroski. A former FBI informant wants to know why the FBI hasn’t arrested the man he believes was the mastermind recruiter in Minnesota’s ongoing prosecution of men accused of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State, or ISIS. Tony Osman says he was assigned by the FBI to spy on Amir Meshal — a mysterious man to many in the Muslim community of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area — whose name surfaced last week in the ongoing trial for three Somali-American men in the District of Minnesota.

  • Alleged Islamic State sympathizer arrested on terror charge

    Source: Associated Press. Sajmir Alimehmeti, a onetime plumbing assistant who has studied funeral services, was arrested Tuesday on charges that he tried to support the terror organization, Islamic State. Law enforcement undercover operatives posed over the last half year as men eager to support the Islamic State. Assistant Federal Defender Sylvie Levine said her client was not unusual, and that “in many ways, he’s just like any other 22-year-old, college-age student”. She noted there was no conspiracy charge and said he had not conversed with anyone who was not a member of law enforcement. “None of these statements appear to be followed by any action,” Levine said.

  • FBI is manufacturing terror plots against Jewish-Americans, driving divisions between Jews and Muslims

    Alternet (5/11): FBI Is Manufacturing Terror Plots Against Jewish-Americans, Driving Divisions Between Jews and Muslims
    Since 9/11, the FBI and NYPD have solved dozens of terror plots that its own agents and assets manufactured, including some against synagogues. Even if the plots were less than real, the foiled “attacks” have greatly impacted both the defendants and their alleged victims, spreading fear among Jewish-Americans and triggering panicked reports about heightened threat against Jews. It’s a startling image: a group of cops or FBI agents sit around an office table and plot the details of an “attack” on Jews. The idea sounds implausible, even conspiratorial. But the FBI has previously made calculated decisions before to exploit anti-Semitism as a means of managing perceived national security threats.

  • Terror trap: it’s easy for the FBI to bust extremist plans they help create

    Source: Houston Press. Jordan Furr and her family were in Bush Intercontinental Airport, just about to board the plane to Toronto when federal agents barreled down the jetway and changed their lives forever. As one agent threw her husband, Michael Wolfe, against the narrow tunnel’s steel wall and slapped on the cuffs, two other agents pulled the couple’s infant son out of Furr’s arms and grabbed the stroller holding the couple’s daughter. As far as Furr knew, she and Wolfe were going to Turkey to help Syrian refugees fleeing President Bashar al-Asaad’s brutal regime. But now, with a quick, sinking feeling, Furr knew what had happened. Her family was never meant to make the flight to Toronto and on to Turkey, where they were planning to stay, indefinitely and rent-free, with their wealthy friend Melissa.

  • Text messages with FBI informant reveal possible entrapment

    Source: Fox 2, Khalil Abu Rayyan was accused of being an ISIS sympathizer, and in a legal complaint the FBI says he told an informant he planned a mass shooting at a Detroit church. But his lawyer says the FBI baited the 21-year-old into making terrorist statements — and that he was simply trying to impress a woman he was falling for. Abu Rayyan promised to make the woman happy in this life and the next – that was just one of many text messages he sent. Turned out, however, that he was talking with someone who worked with the FBI. FOX 2 obtained some of the text messages. The young woman said she was depressed and was dead set on committing jihad, and was trying to convince Abu Rayyan to join her.

  • FBI honeypot ensnares Michigan man

    Source: The Intercept. Khalil Abu Rayyan was a lonely young man in Detroit, eager to find a wife. Jannah Bride claimed she was a 19-year-old Sunni Muslim whose husband was killed in an airstrike in Syria. The two struck up a romantic connection through online communications. Now, Rayyan, a 21-year-old Michigan man, is accused by federal prosecutors of supporting the Islamic State. Documents released Tuesday show, however, that Rayyan was motivated not by religious radicalism but by the desire to impress Bride, who said she wanted to be a martyr. Jannah Bride, not a real name, was in fact an FBI informant hired to communicate with Rayyan.

  • Trial for Florida man in alleged bomb plot off until July

    Source: Associated Press. Trial has been delayed several months for 24-year-old Harlem Suarez, who is accused of conspiring to detonate a bomb in a Florida Keys beach in a plot the FBI says was inspired by the Islamic State terror group. The FBI says Suarez told an informant he wanted to detonate a backpack bomb on a Key West beach. He was arrested in July after accepting an inert device from an FBI employee posing as an Islamic State member. Suarez has pleaded not guilty and is jailed without bail.