Pre-crime Reports

  • Florida man, accused of terrorism based on book collection, set free

    Source: The Intercept, The U.S. government had produced “snippets of information from various sources, out of context, to weave together a narrative of terrorist ideation,” a Florida judge said Friday, ordering the release of Marcus Dwayne Robertson, an Orlando-based Islamic scholar who stood accused of supporting terrorism. Robertson, also known as “Abu Taubah,” had been incarcerated since 2011 on charges of tax fraud and illegal gun possession. After his arrest and subsequent conviction on those charges, prosecutors sought to add a terrorism enhancement to his sentence, a sentencing guideline modification that would have sent the Islamic scholar to prison for up to 20 years. Instead, following the judge’s rejection of the enhancement, he was sentenced to time served and ordered released immediately.

     
  • Lawyer: Student guilty of terrorism is gifted student, high achiever

    Pre-crime Reports June 16, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: USA Today. The 17-year-old honors student who plead guilty Thursday to assisting the Islamic State’s recruiting campaign was an avid competitor in robotics contests and the founder of a community service club. Ali Shukri Amin, one of the youngest Americans to face such serious terrorism charges, attended Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Va. He was also dually enrolled in the prestigious Governor’s School at George Mason University – a program for high-achieving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students. Amin admitted to helping his 18-year-old friend, Reza Niknejad, travel oversees to join ISIL and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

     
  • 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.

     
  • The Sting: How the FBI created a terrorist

    Source: The Intercept. Sami Osmakac was the target of an elaborately orchestrated FBI sting that involved a paid informant, as well as FBI agents and support staff working on the setup for more than three months. The FBI provided all of the weapons seen in Osmakac’s martyrdom video. The bureau also gave Osmakac the car bomb he allegedly planned to detonate, and even money for a taxi so he could get to where the FBI needed him to go. Osmakac was a deeply disturbed young man, according to several of the psychiatrists and psychologists who examined him before trial. He became a “terrorist” only after the FBI provided the means, opportunity and final prodding necessary to make him one.

     
  • Portland man: I was tortured in UAE for refusing to become an FBI informant

    Pre-crime Reports March 16, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian Portland man: I was tortured in UAE for refusing to become an FBI informant By: Chris McGreal When Yonas Fikre stepped off a luxury private jet at Portland airport last month, the only passenger on a $200,000 flight from Sweden, he braced for the worst. Would the […]