Mohamed Osman Mohamud

I agree with Glenn Greenwald. I don't know if it's an actual terrorist that the FBI arrested, or if it's another case of entrapment.

All of the information about this episode -- all of it -- comes exclusively from an FBI affidavit filed in connection with a Criminal Complaint against Mohamud. As shocking and upsetting as this may be to some, FBI claims are sometimes one-sided, unreliable and even untrue, especially when such claims -- as here -- are uncorroborated and unexamined.

This, although old, is relevant. So is this, although even older:

The JFK Airport plotters seem to have been egged on by an informant, a twice-convicted drug dealer. An FBI informant almost certainly pushed the Fort Dix plotters to do things they wouldn't have ordinarily done. The Miami gang's Sears Tower plot was suggested by an FBI undercover agent who infiltrated the group. And in 2003, it took an elaborate sting operation involving three countries to arrest an arms dealer for selling a surface-to-air missile to an ostensible Muslim extremist. Entrapment is a very real possibility in all of these cases.

In any case, notice that it was old-fashioned police investigation that caught this guy.

EDITED TO ADD (12/13): Another analysis.

Posted on November 30, 2010 at 5:54 AM • 45 Comments

Comments

BF SkinnerNovember 30, 2010 6:25 AM

"old-fashioned police investigation "

The FBI claims it's been monitoring Mohamud email for months with an ex-pat in Pakistan. Wiretapping old fashioned? Maybe, but it's not in the same class of police work as shoe leather and knocking on doors asking questions.

Rick MillerNovember 30, 2010 6:57 AM

So if
A) real terrorists are not being caught, and
B) there are no terrorist attacks in the US,
Then: real terrorists are not active in the US.

BF SkinnerNovember 30, 2010 7:03 AM

The Washington's Post has some interesting things to say some of it a repeat of what some here have said before.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/...

While discussing the script used to confirm the villian's intent and pointing out that cases are not being thrown out because of entrapment

"The people they repeatedly come up with continue to be people who have no ability to do something on their own," said Samuel Braverman, another defense attorney in the New York case who said he's skeptical of a strategy that amounts to "picking off the dumbest we have to offer."

The article quotes another defense lawyer calling the FBIs actions grandstanding at the cost of a lot of time and money.

So how many terrorists have the FBI caught? A dozen maybe twenty out of a population of 300 million?

I would've thought if the insider threat is that great there'd've been more.

"even the government's own documents paint Mohamud as something of a piddling terrorist: He tried to connect with a jihadist in Pakistan, but kept mistyping the e-mail address."
Piddling indeed.

And let's not forget what it is to be a teenager. Nilhists R Us.

DayOwlNovember 30, 2010 7:35 AM

Without government sponsored help, Mohamud couldn't have attempted a terrorist act. Why do they keep helping people commit terrorism? What does that make the FBI? Why not just stop him at the outset?

For cripes sakes. He's nineteen. The chump quality is deteriorating fast. Anymore "successes" like this and the public might begin to catch on.

WinterNovember 30, 2010 8:08 AM

If terrorists will not grow by themselves on US soil, nor will immigrate on their own accord into the US, then the Government will have to plant, nurture, and grow them.

There are no other options, I think

Geek ProphetNovember 30, 2010 8:09 AM

@ DayOwl

"Without government sponsored help, Mohamud couldn't have attempted a terrorist act. Why do they keep helping people commit terrorism? What does that make the FBI? Why not just stop him at the outset?"

They can't "just stop him at the outset". They have to talk him into committing a crime and wait until he has done so before they can stop him. Otherwise, they have nothing to stop.

DarronNovember 30, 2010 8:19 AM

@Geek Prophet: There is a third option. Send a couple of agents by to talk to him and throw a scare into him. Put him on a list for minimal monitoring for the next few years followed by a reevaluation.

Then spend the freed resources looking for serious threats.

JBBNovember 30, 2010 8:44 AM

Eh. The events are obviously questionable. How about the motives of the FBI etc.?
1) "Look we did something productive, aren't we great?"
2) "Give us more power to do something else and we promise similar results!"
3) (Possibly legit:) "When word of this gets out, wannabe terrorists will start getting nervous about whether they're talking to a terrorist who'll help them, or an agent who'll set them up for a big fall."

DanNovember 30, 2010 8:56 AM

What happens when one of these FBI 'encouragements' results in actual death and damage. Who is the terrorist then?

BF SkinnerNovember 30, 2010 9:36 AM

@Darron " Put him on a list for minimal monitoring "

He was already on No-Fly, and he knew it 'cause he couldn't go to Alaska and work the fishery.

BF SkinnerNovember 30, 2010 9:39 AM

ABC's article (some others have said the same) was titled "The Christmas Tree Bomber"

Misleading and I think a deliberate attempt to equate an association with the Detroit crotch bomber.

incite religious war much?

IntelVetNovember 30, 2010 9:43 AM

No one, seemingly, wants to talk about the government actively blocking the man from securing a job, unemployment being one of the issues that seems to create criminal behavior.

I mean, here the government is wiretapping the man, both his phone and computer, and they did not know enough that his being on a no fly list would block his ability to secure a job in Alaska?

It appears to me that the government wanted to increase his frustration and dependence on his "mentor", perhaps in order to stress him into making foolish decisions by sabotaging his free will.

Count 0November 30, 2010 9:53 AM

"In any case, notice that it was old-fashioned police investigation that caught this guy."

That's the first thing that I thought: the porno-scans and groping by the TSA did noting to find this guy. Unfortunately very few people seem to see a link between the two.

I'm still sceptically about the "facts" as the FBI has reported them, but I think the fact that all the money thrown down the TSA black hole would do nothing to prevent this kind of plot should be a much more widely publicized aspect to this story.

John CampbellNovember 30, 2010 10:08 AM

Ummmm....

If I recall correctly, there were plenty of these kinds of "entrapment" cases in the late 1960s and early 1970s in an effort to turn peace protesters into armed and destructive rabble.

Y'know, some people teeter on a fence and, in order to undermine apathy and *try* to polarize folks.

I sometimes wonder if there are agents working to create another NiiHau Incident ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niihau_Incident ) in order to polarize an "us versus them" scenario.

SkepticNovember 30, 2010 10:55 AM

All sting ops are entrapment. You're either offering to buy or sell something illegal to induce a market or a demand for said illegal product/action.

Whatever action an undercover LEO does is just as illegal as the guy they bust. If you can't catch two bad guys making a bad transaction using surveilance without needing to be one of the bad guys creating the illegal activity, it is because there is insufficient motive for criminal activity present.

If there aren't any/enough criminals for us to catch, we'll just make 'em!

mcbNovember 30, 2010 10:57 AM

@ BF Skinner

"ABC's article...was titled 'The Christmas Tree Bomber'

incite religious war much?"

What, the Jihadis are at war against symbols of the pagan solstice observance?!! What's next, an attack on Festivus? Oh well, since "they hate us for our freedom" perhaps soon they'll agree to leave us alone.

BF SkinnerNovember 30, 2010 11:15 AM

provocateur aspect aside for a moment. (why are all the best words to describe conspiracy and crime either French or Russian?)

Means, motive, oppourtunity are usually cited as elements of proof needed for a conviction of a crime.

However the elements of crime, when a crimes is committed, is much simpler. A crime is committed when there is an intent combined with an act. Some crimes must have consequence but I think the courts rightly believe preventing the death of people is in society's interest. The act is necessary to prevent it being a thought crime.

So MOM clearly intended to trigger what he thought was a bomb, clearly took the actions he was told would trigger the bomb and understood the consequence of the act. The fact that the feebies provided him the means and oppourtunity is not relevant to his personal guilt or innocence.

Now the fact that MOM was maybe feeling distressed economically, that the feebies agent provided him enough money to move out on his own can be a good argument in his defense that the feebies CI provided undue influence; especially taking MOMs adolescent desire to prove himself into account.

I go back and forth on this. LEOs walk a fine line, espescially when using CI's who are motivated by coercion or profit, in attempting to trigger these potential threats in a controlled manner.

Now this kid (and I think he is a dumbass kid in over his head doing stupid things, criminal things) is one in 300 million in a country that has routine murder for hire cases, 1 in 25 of whom are sociopaths, 52% of whom are regular alcohol users causing 23,199 homicides and traffic deaths annually, just under a million and a quarter violent crimes annually.

So we come back to the basic question.

Is there really a threat, internal to the US, that justifies the expense in wealth, labor, revokation of rights, and diversion from other risks? (FBIee's I love that you're finally serving warrants on Wall Street but where were you 4 years ago?)
Who's done more damage or potential damage, this lint for brains in Oregon or fat cats in Goldman Sacks?

LeoloNovember 30, 2010 11:17 AM

These things always strike me as being entrapement. That "To catch a predator" show fairly reack of entrapement also. Of course, how is one going to prove that in court?

David KingNovember 30, 2010 11:20 AM

I live in Portland and there has, of course, been a lot of coverage. This fellow arrived when he was five, went to Blazer basketball games, ... Schoolmates remember him as a quiet fellow all through grade school and high school. Something must have changed when he got to Oregon State University.

So far, by his own admissions, this jihad was something he wanted to do. ???

RookieNovember 30, 2010 11:33 AM

@DayOwl "For cripes sakes. He's nineteen."

The 9/11 hijackers ranged in age from 20 to about 33, and they were selected for their participation up to 18 months ahead of time. If you're saying that since he's 19, he can't be capable of trying to commit a terrorist act, I think your analysis is a bit shortsighted.

Clive RobinsonNovember 30, 2010 12:07 PM

@ Bruce,

You once indicated that certain malware attacks where so numerous you did not consider commenting on them any longer...

Which begs the question "how many more FBI setups/stings/entrapments are you going to comment on before you consider them to numerous?"

As a person who used to visit the US on both business an pleasure I'm absolutly horrified at what is going on there as reported by ordinary "middle class/WASP" individuals. I dread to think just how bad it actuall is for those minorities who don't have much of a voice...

However, much as I would like to think it's better in the UK I'm rappidly comming to the conclusion it's not... So think twice before comming here for instance Nearly Nude body scans are not optional in the UK if you are selected and refuse, your banned from flying (contary to EU legislation etc)

We have just had another occurance of what the Met Police call "kettling" where they illegaly detain and hold people on mass because they have the temerity to protest against injustice and flagrant abuse in various forms.

Also the Met Police have yet again deliberatly lied about actions of Police officers who have acted illegaly (chraged into crowds on horse back, discharged dangerous Halon fire extinquishers into peoples faces are the ones we have footage of). And have again used various "incitement" techniques to disrupt and foster violance in otherwise peacefull protests.

And the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) wonder why the general public have little or no confidence in the Police.

RoyNovember 30, 2010 12:36 PM

The FBI provided him with a real bomb and let him detonate it at a remote location. Apparently there are exceptions to the laws about supplying weapons of mass destruction.

BF SkinnerNovember 30, 2010 1:41 PM

@David King "Something must have changed when he got to Oregon State University."

Well the Beavers do suck.

@Rookie " ranged in age from 20 to about 33"

I would never say that a teenager isn't capable of horrendus actions. And while it seems like entrapment I think the feebies have built a case that is not the legal definition of it. Let's take another scenario
17 year old Girl says she wants a hit on a schoolmate. Should the FBI or Co Sherrif set up a sting and enable the girl's to carry out her statement?
How many? toddlers and middleschoolers say things like "I hate you and I wish you were dead!" Should the FBI cozy up to that child and further incite them because 1 in 10,000 is actually capable of carrying through with the desire?

Remember been a teen? They're nuts and remain nuts until well into their twenties. The question here is not did he do it? (I think he probably did) but would he have been able to do it on his own or as many of us do...grow out of the desire.

AlexNovember 30, 2010 2:58 PM

Newsweek has an article that shows that in this investigation, the FBI has been responsive to claims of entrapment. http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/27/...

From the article:
'In the lead-up to the event the undercover operatives kept asking Mohamud if it bothered him that he’d be killing a whole lot of little kids and they kept telling him it would be okay to back away from the plot. According to the FBI affidavit filed with the court, Mohamud said he just wanted a “huge mass that will...be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.”'

If the article is true, then it looks like this investigation was conducted more ethically than some past ones.

RookieNovember 30, 2010 4:21 PM

@BF Skinner
Yes, I remember being a teen and all that goes with it, and I agree there's a reason that percentage-wise, stupid acts of violence decrease with increasing age, but I think you support my point more than you defeat it. At 19, this guy stood there and twice tried to set off a bomb that he knew would kill lots of innocent people. Foolish teenager he might be, but that doesn't make him less dangerous or less likely to act out.

Knee-jerk claims of entrapment ignore the bright legal line that is drawn for those cases, and if the FBI engaged in entrapment it will surely be brought out in the trial. EVERY perp caught in a sting claims entrapment.

SteveNovember 30, 2010 5:25 PM

Without a bust here and there it would be difficult to justify the annual budget appropriation.

mcbNovember 30, 2010 5:27 PM

Let’s see how conversations might have resulted in sufficient truthiness to be included – all or in part – in an affidavit...

FBI to Confidential Informant: “Did you keep asking Mohamud if it bothered him that he’d be killing a whole lot of little kids and keep telling him it would be okay to back away from the plot?”

Confidential Informant to FBI: “Yeah, I kept asking Mohamud if it bothered him that he’d be killing a whole lot of little kids and I kept telling him it would be okay to back away from the plot.

Confidential Informant to Mohamud: “So, what are you looking for, a huge mass that will be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays?”

Mohamud to Confidential Informant: “Yeah, a huge mass that will be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.”

What the federal prosecutor's instructions to the FBI? What was communicated to the CI? What was said to Mohamud? What was recorded? What wasn’t? Why?

As bad as entrapment is, my fear is that if the Bureau runs enough of these cases some day one of them is going to bounce out of control and a federally ideated perp will unexpectedly act without the supervision of his handler...

Clive RobinsonNovember 30, 2010 5:56 PM

@ Rookie,

"Knee-jerk claims of entrapment ignore the bright legal line that is drawn for those cases, and if the
FBI engaged in entrapment it will surely be brought out in the trial. EVERY perp caught in a sting claims entrapment."

The entrapment line is neither clear or straight and transgressed more often than not. The question of if it comes out in court is yet another area that is muddied not just by the prosecution agents but often by the defense as well, judges don't like it because it can give rise to a "trial within a trial" and also bring down the question of perjury onto LEO's heads. Thus it often does not get to the jury to decide.

Thus the fact that many accused do say entrapment from a sting may well be true, which is why in some jurisdictions they are effectivly ruled out in advance.

One important asspect of entrapment is the reasonable expectation of knowledge of illegal acts. Part of this has to do with obscurity and another to do with mental ability.

The "obscurity" part was exemplified by a case involving the sale of a legaly owned legal shotgun and it's conversion to an illegal weapon by having the barrels sawn short (it was concluded that entrapment had taken place and large damages where paid out).

The mental capability aspect I suspect is going to come out in the trial. It is difficult to argue that a young person has sufficient life experiance thus knowledge to say that what they where encoraged to do they either knew or could comprehend as being illegal.

It is not unknown for people to say things simply to gain some advantage. For instance how many false confessions have resulted in cases being terminated. Further is what the FBI agents report as having being said actually said by the defendant and if so was it also in the context the agents allege?

There is the old triad of MMO where all three parts have to be there for a crime to be committed. Now assuming it is shown he had the "motive" and understood it to be illegal the question arises of "means" making a bomb in the ordinary course of events is actually not simple and few first time bombs work in the way expected by the builder. Most explosives to some extent are controled substances, which often means that the builder has to be able to make the explosive. Likewise with the detonater and timing mechanism.

These are not simple skills and in the ordinary course of events are effectivly insurmountable problems for by far the majority of even quite educated people as evidenced by the people that tried to "fire bomb" Glasgow airport (and probably the same with the device in Times Sq).

Thus you have to ask could this person actualy make a viable device without assistance of a knowledgable third party. If the answer is probably not then you are into a very very messy situation.

The reason being is "getting fired up" ask yourself a question,

How many previously law abiding US citizens that have recently had their homes and all they own taken away from them do not resort to some kind of crime?

Of the same group ask yourself how many would like to extract revenge of some form against the banks etc. And how many may have expressed that desire?

Now askyourself this question if you had a list of all the people in the last group how difficult do you think it would be to find a susceptible / impressionable person that you could talk around into extracting revenge against a director of one of the big banks?

Don't forget that an "eye for an eye" is an ethos most religions teach and often refered to when some one says "what goes around, comes around". Remember that by far the majority of pipe bombs and other improvised explosive devices used in the US are by people seeking an "eye for an eye".

BF SkinnerNovember 30, 2010 7:05 PM

@mcb "since "they hate us for our freedom" perhaps soon they'll agree to leave us alone."

heh he heh...Sorry I only just got it...heh heh heh.

@rookie "...stuff..."
Please re-read my posts. You'll see I don't deny for a second the potential threat a teenager (even younger than 15 or 13 or 12 or 10) can pose. But there are two ways to intervene in someone's life.
Way 1..."Yeah the world hates you and you hate it and I hate it so let's blow it up." Followed by "You're under arrest for criminal violation of section 3.1(b) of the shadow proclamation. You are being remanded to the US Marshal pending arrainment in Federal District Court."

Way 2 ... kumbaya

I went to school with some hard cases. Hung out with what was even then called bad company...was regarded as such by many of my friends families. And now some of those cases are stunted drug abusing low-lifes, some are doing time and, no doubt, some are dead. Most are not. I can easily see now, that in that time that if people hadn't intervened, and not intervened by letting me live out fantasies of anger and revenge but by showing me to a better path I'd be right there with them. Where I grew up the IRA (less so the Provo's) were/are hero's. So was Meir Kahane, MOVE, and even the Weather Men. At that age with nothing to lose and a massive grudge would I have been willing to make a life long mistake? You bet.

We treat Juvi's differently from adults because they are considered not fully developed; or what i will persist in calling 'nuts'. 18 as an age of majority is a convention it doesn't represent a stage of development. And even Adults can achieve redemption.

So setting up a kid, that's great police work? What if the feebies used the same time, money and effort to redirect MOM out of jihad into the hands non-militant Mullahs that teach the truth of Islam? Obviously it wouldn't work for all but it can reduce the potential pool of threat to a managable level. (though I don't believe that pool in the US is large to start with.) But that's not as satisfying as smiting a bastard now is it? Even a bastard we took tax dollars time and effort to create.

This is attacking the problem from the supply side again (and when has that ever worked?) The problem is not that there are people here to recruit it's that there are recruiters. And I got to believe a damn site fewer of them than recruitees.

@Clive "triad of MMO where all three parts have to be there for a crime to be committed"

No they got to be there for a jury to be convinced of guilt or innocence. Elements for crime are Intent and Act, sometimes consequence.

Based on that and the careful way MOM was handled I say the feebies have found their critical path to conviction. I don't and I don't think we can know how much their interference in this man's/child's life affected the outcome.
Would he have outgrown the desire to blow people up? Most criminals in the US do age out of their earlier criminal tendencies. and when I say most I mean 75% or more. Hard core recidivists are about 13% of most studies.

Richard Steven HackNovember 30, 2010 9:12 PM

"FBI claims are sometimes one-sided, unreliable and even untrue, especially when such claims -- as here -- are uncorroborated and unexamined."

Heh, heh. no duh.

I was in a Federal Magistrate's courtroom for a bail hearing once. The case before me was some drug case. A US Marshall testified to something. The Magistrate wasn't convinced. The US prosecutor said, "But, You Honor, this is a US Marshall. He wouldn't lie."

The Magistrate exploded in laughter and said, "Don't tell me a Federal officer wouldn't come in to this courtroom and lie to me."

Oh, yeah, they do. They falsify evidence as much as they can get away with. They do illegal search and seizures. They do illegal black bag jobs. They outright forge a judge's signature on a warrant. Look it up.

Richard Steven HackNovember 30, 2010 9:15 PM

"What happens when one of these FBI 'encouragements' results in actual death and damage. Who is the terrorist then?"

Look up the Massachusetts case where the FBI actively aided a high-ranking Mafia informant to murder his rivals.

We anarchists like to say, "Government IS organized crime."

Davi OttenheimerDecember 1, 2010 1:37 AM

"it was old-fashioned police investigation that caught this guy"

credit also goes to the parents and community who reported this guy to the police, per my comment above.

idris December 1, 2010 3:15 AM

Teens at his age hate everybody including their parents. I am sure the FBI could convince this guy to kill his mom.

DayOwlDecember 1, 2010 7:27 AM

@Rookie:

At nineteen, many people are very easy to influence/indoctrinate. That's why the armed forces love 18-year-olds. My point is that instead of setting the KID up, they could have made an effort to save him instead. But no, they had an agenda: make the mayor of Portland rethink his non-cooperation stance. The kid was just the means, a pawn. Supposedly grown-up FBI agents are supposed to behave better than this.

paulDecember 1, 2010 9:07 AM

This will likely all be hashed out at trial (if the kid has decent legal representation and resources, and doesn't take a plea in hopes of a lesser sentence). But even the evidence given in the affadavit is susceptible of very different interpretations depending on context.

"Sure, you could back out now, walk away and just go back to your life on the no-fly list, kid. You wouldn't have hurt any of those people living their comfortable lives while yours is miserable..."

Sounds like a perfectly legitimate opportunity to abandon the plot to me.

No OneDecember 1, 2010 9:50 AM

Re: Entrapment -- Entrapment is when the law enforcement officer puts someone in a situation where an "ordinary" person would commit a crime. It is not entrapment if an "ordinary" person would turn down the offer.

So obvious entrapment would be offering a five dollar bill to someone across an empty street then ticketing them for jaywalking.

A situation that is not entrapment is offering to buy some coke off someone at market price if only they can score it for you.

Or, put another way, would /you/ blow up a plane with a bomb just because someone said he likes your pluck and wants to give you a chance to be a real terrorist?

Rob SheinDecember 1, 2010 11:31 AM

I think the reason these cases aren't getting thrown out as entrapment is fairly simple: unlike a one-time drug deal, theft, etc. where there's a perceived tradeoff of risk and personal gain that would apply to pretty much anyone, only people with hostile intent would have even the slightest incident in being enabled to perform a terrorist attack. The "reasonable person" would, on the other hand, look at the informant/FBI agent and ask, "Are you out of your mind?"

As for the fact that the people being caught are not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed...neither are the guys who've been caught in self-motivated attacks either. Richard Reid was far from a savvy or sharp actor, and even the 9/11 bombers displayed comical behavior at times prior to their horrific actions. There may be a benefit to these cases, as someone once pointed out, in that it may cause more intelligent (and thus, careful) individuals to be less trusting of others who may approach them, and thus less likely to accept/seek/embrace supporters.

AaronDecember 2, 2010 10:07 PM

The real terrorists are taken in fairly secret operations that are not publicized. Black prisons exist. Black court systems exist. These things we know to be true. The comically inept are made examples of, to set lures for the unwary or feckless idiots to follow.

TomDecember 4, 2010 1:10 AM

I was at Pioneer Square in Portland for the Christmas tree lighting with my wife and 3-year old son.

Prior to the FBI ever being in contact with Mohamed, Mohamed had an interest in violent jihad against the US and his father was concerned enough to contact the feds.

Obviously anyone, teenagers included, can easily get a hold of a gun in this country.

I cannot understand the posts that side so strongly with Mohamed and have such venom for the FBI.

I don't know if Mohamed would have eventually grown out of the violent jihadist beliefs that he held as a 19-year old. Or if he could have been rehabilitated to give up those beliefs. I am glad we won't have to chance it.

Clive RobinsonDecember 4, 2010 2:47 AM

@ Tom,

"I cannot understand the posts that side so strongly with Mohamed and have such venom for the FBI"

Having been on the receiving end of a terrorist bullet that just missed me many years ago I have had plenty of time to think about the why of terrorism and adolescents.

Firstly a goodly number of adolescents rebel not just against their parents but society as a whole, how ever the harm they can do is mainly limited to themselves (self harm) their family (abuse) and their peers and thus can be contained and in the later case constrained.

However in some cases there are underlying mental conditions through either nature or nurture (I actually care not which) that cause a small percentage of the population to either not develop morals or to suspend them.

These people generaly fall into the sociopath spectrum the amount of damage they can do is limitedonly by the environment they are in.

Thus changing their environment to deliberatly encorage their mental state into violent action is bad enough, and one of the reasons we activly persue terrorist recruiters. But to also give them the tools to actualy carry out an attack is not just stupid it's out right lunacy. It makes the FBI personel identical to the terrorist organisations we wish to stop.

If you have trouble understanding this point then I urge you to consider the difference between ordinary students and those that go into schools with guns and kill their peers and teachers.

Then consider your feelings towards those that made the guns available to them.

Now consider how you would feel if it was revealed that the local police had deliberatly supplied a known disafected tennager (they considered so dangerous the had to continualy watch) with guns just so the could arrest the teenager in the act and appear as heros of the hour...

BF SkinnerDecember 4, 2010 7:38 AM

@Clive @Tom " if...the local police had deliberatly supplied a known disafected tennager (they considered so dangerous the had to continualy watch) with guns just so the could arrest the teenager in the act and appear as heros of the hour"

Call it the officialdom/authoritative version of Münchausen syndrome by proxy.

Unlike many here I give the feebies the benifit of the doubt and consider them suffering a disorder rather than engaging in explicit plotting against their fellow citizens (although come to think of it ...this _was_ a deliberate plot against an american citizen from it's government.) But I can see how my fellow americans miss the nuance. Our government, and individuals in it's employ, misbehave -- a lot.

Or since you're in the NW...think of it as macro-ego acting to convince itself it exists.

How far do we go doing things in the name of 'fighting the terrorists' that we wouldn't have accepted before?

Why for instance are TSA screeners taught to recognize illeagle drugs in carry-on baggage and keep drug sniffing dogs on call from the local sherrif...What does stopping drug transportation have to do with airline safety? Nothing. These aren't customs checkpoints or ports of entry. And citizens shouldn't have to declare their property while freely traveling within the borders of the nation.

But as it was explained, badly, to me ... different components within DHS support each others missions. Weak as water. They are trying to carry out their missions in the same way no matter where they are, whether the mission applies or not. An instance I guess of the law of unintended consequences.

wintermuteDecember 13, 2010 8:01 AM

Aaron:
"The real terrorists are taken in fairly secret operations that are not publicized. Black prisons exist. Black court systems exist. These things we know to be true. The comically inept are made examples of, to set lures for the unwary or feckless idiots to follow."

Certainly, there are black prisons. I'm not aware of any black court systems other than "we don't have enough evidence to convict this guy, so let's just throw him in a hole for the rest of his life", which doesn't exactly count, IMO.

Essentially, you're arguing that the government has the authority to arrest anyone at any time, and to imprison / execute them without being able to demonstrate publicly that they're guilty of any crime. Speaking as someone who generally approves of the government and thinks they're mostly working for the benefit of the country, I don't see how this can possibly be accepted by anyone.

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