According to a new report from Human Rights Watch, many high-profile domestic terror plots directly involve government agents or informants.
The report stated that agents are planted within Muslim communities to stop terrorism plots before they occur.
Sting operations often rely on the willing participation of informers, however the report suggests that impressionable people are often targeted in what borderlines on entrapment. “In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report noted.
In addition, the report said that many of the convictions associated with terror plots are not so much based on actions, but on “material support” charges. Material support is a broad category that can include anything from providing supplies to giving “expert advice.” In one case, a man was accused of providing “military gear” to al-Qaida. That gear turned out to be a pair of waterproof socks stowed in his luggage.
Also troublesome is civil rights and due process violations. The report found several cases where suspects spent years in solitary confinement before receiving a trial. There were also instances of secret evidence, trumped up charges, and unreasonably long prison sentences.
Perhaps a better way to combat extremism is for law enforcement to work with Muslim American communities, rather than try to infiltrate them.
As Andrea Prasow, one of the report’s authors said, “It is possible to protect people’s rights and also prosecute terrorists, which increases the chances of catching genuine criminals.”
Photo: Tumblr, Poor Richards News
The report found that the FBI was inadvertently creating terrorists out of informants.