Did the FBI Invent the D.C. Bomb Plot?
Last week the police arrested Farooque Ahmed for plotting a terrorist attack on the D.C. Metro system. However, it’s not clear how much of the plot was his idea and how much was the idea of some paid FBI informants:
The indictment offers some juicy tidbits—Ahmed allegedly proposed using rolling suitcases instead of backpacks to bomb the Metro—but it is notably thin in details about the role of the FBI. It is not clear, for example, whether Ahmed or the FBI (or some combination of the two) came up with the concept of bombing the Metro in the first place. And the indictment does not say when and why Ahmed first encountered the people he believed to be members of al-Qaida.
Of course the police are now using this fake bomb plot to justify random bag searching in the Metro. (It’s a dumb idea.)
This is the problem with thoughtcrime. Entrapment is much too easy.
EDITED TO ADD (11/4): Much the same thing was written in The Economist blog.
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