Entrapment/Manufactured Charges/Agent Provocateurs Prosecutions

  • Killing of Detroit Imam in 2009 described as “nothing less than a cover-up”

    Source: The Intercept. On October 28, 2009, dozens of heavily armed FBI agents swarmed a warehouse in Dearborn, Michigan, to execute an arrest warrant against Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, and several other men, who had been accused of fencing stolen merchandise. What exactly happened next remains in dispute, but the raid resulted in Abdullah being shot more than 20 times and dying on the scene. An FBI press release issued later that day said that Abdullah, an imam at a mosque on Detroit’s West Side, “did not surrender and fired [a] weapon. An exchange of gun fire followed and Abdullah was killed.” This version of events has been fiercely contested by Abdullah’s lawyers and family, as well as an eyewitness to the shooting. Now, representatives of Abdullah’s estate are attempting to take his case to the Supreme Court, arguing that he was unlawfully killed during the 2009 encounter, and that the FBI and local law enforcement staged a cover-up.

     
  • Attorneys: FBI paid $41K to ISIS terror case informant ‘Rover’

    Source: MPR News. Attorneys for the six men accused of trying to flee the Twin Cities to join the terrorist group ISIS are demanding federal prosecutors identify an informant who played a key role in cracking the case. The FBI paid an informant who went by the name “Rover” and was identified in court documents as CHS. CHS was paid more than $41,000 from January 2014 to May 2015, according to documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by Minneapolis-based attorney Andrew Birrell. Attorneys for Hamza Ahmed, Adnan Farah, Abdurahman Daud, Zacharia Abdurahman, Hanad Musse and Guled Omar, question the informant’s credibility. They say investigators knew CHS lied about his criminal history and recently admitted to the FBI that before becoming an informant, CHS was part of a conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

     
  • Federal Judge takes nuanced approach in US terrorism cases

    Source: Associated Press. Federal judges in Chicago, New York and other U.S. cities typically take a hardline approach to terrorism suspects, locking them up after hearing from prosecutors that these men and women have embraced violent ideologies and are a threat to national security. But U.S. District Judge Michael Davis — who’s handled all of the recent terrorism cases in Minnesota, where a large Somali community has been a target for recruits for the Islamic State group and al-Shabab — takes a nuanced approach. He’s considering pretrial release for some, asking attorneys and the community to create plans that will keep the public safe and steer the young men in a positive direction. As dozens of similar cases proceed nationwide, Davis’ actions could become a model for other courts, or could prove disastrous if he takes a risk on the wrong person.

     
  • FBI’s Key West counterterrorism sting target “a little slow”

    Source: The Intercept. The U.S. government alleges that 23-year-old Cuban-American Harlem Suarez conspired with an FBI informant and undercover agents to bomb a stretch of beach in Key West. The FBI affidavit supporting the criminal complaint portrays Suarez as a bumbler who lived with his parents — not an uncommon description for targets of FBI counterterrorism stings. ISuarez is the latest man to be arrested as part of an increased push to nab Islamic State sympathizers in FBI counterterrorism stings. These stings, like the ones over the previous decade that targeted so-called lone wolf Qaeda sympathizers, are catching people of questionable capacity who may not even be in contact with the Islamic State. Some of these recent targets have been described as mentally ill.

     
  • Double agent: An FBI informant makes a new career as a defense expert

    Source: The Intercept. Not long after the U.S. Department of Justice announced terrorism charges in February against a group of Brooklyn men who allegedly plotted to join the Islamic State in Syria, a defense lawyer for one of the men received an unusual phone call. It was from Craig Monteilh, a former FBI informant who is positioning himself as a for-hire expert witness and defense consultant. Monteilh offered a cocksure proposition — he could help derail the government’s case, which relied on an FBI informant to help facilitate the alleged plot. In fact, Monteilh volunteered, he’d already helped to undermine one counterterrorism prosecution. He could do it again, he promised.

     
  • Terror suspect says US used jail informants improperly

    Source: Associated Press. A Kenyan man accused of supporting terrorists around the world claims in new court documents that jailhouse informants were improperly used as U.S. government agents to gather evidence against him. The FBI used as many as five informants to gather what may be incriminating evidence against Mohamed Said and obtain the defense’s trial strategy, attorney Silvia Pinera-Vazquez said in court documents. She also said attempts were made by some informants to persuade Said to seek a different lawyer who might cut a deal for him to plead guilty rather than go to trial. The motion asks a judge to suppress any evidence from the informants, contending such actions would violate Said’s constitutional rights to effective legal counsel.

     
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s path to extremism intertwined with FBI contacts

    Source: The Intercept. The trial has also revived questions about the nature and extent of the FBI’s contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev during the period in which he began to publicly evince support for extremist violence. In the years leading up to the bombing, as he became increasingly erratic in his public behavior, he and his family are believed to have had multiple contacts with FBI agents in the Boston area. These 2011 interviews with Tsarnaev and his family would later raise questions about the nature of the FBI’s relationship with him before the bombing, even prompting Republican Senator Chuck Grassley to issue an open letter to FBI Director James Comey asking whether Tsarnaev had been the target of a sting operation, or if had been employed as an informant by the bureau. In a response, Comey denied the bureau had employed Tsarnaev, while declining to elaborate further on any contacts it may have had with him.

     
  • In U.S. ISIS cases, informants play a big role

    Sourcd: Wall Street Journal. The wide use of informants or undercover agents in the arrests of suspected Islamic State supporters in the U.S. is sparking criticism that authorities are luring people into crimes. In a case this month, confidential informants helped 20-year-old John Booker build a bomb and then accompanied him to detonate the inert device at a local military base where he was arrested while preparing the device, according to the criminal complaint.

     
  • Man charged in Kansas bomb plot called strange, troubled

    Source: Associated Press. John T. Booker Jr., e 20-year-old Topeka resident told a confidante who was in fact an FBI informant six months ago that he wasn’t liked at his mosque because he expressed support for the terrorist group al-Qaida — views that would have gotten him barred, according to the imam. The cleric said the FBI brought Booker to the mosque last year, said he had a mental health disorder and sought counseling to turn him from views behind Facebook postings about plans to die in a jihad. Even amid the counseling, Booker was in contact with two FBI informants portraying Islamic State group sympathizers, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. Authorities said Booker was arrested Friday trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb outside Fort Riley, about 70 miles west of Topeka.

     
  • Two women in Queens are charged with a bomb plot

    Source: The New York Times. Two women living in Queens have been charged with planning to build a bomb, in a plot revealed by a monthslong undercover investigation that found the women had discussed the merits of various types of bombs and had obtained four propane gas tanks. The women, Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, who until recently were roommates in Queens, were named in a complaint unsealed on Thursday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, where they appeared Thursday afternoon. During the inquiry, investigators deployed an undercover officer, who appeared to play a significant role in helping the women with the plan, according to government documents. The officer appeared to become a friend, and fellow plotter, according to the complaint.