Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fed Catch the Bad Guy?


The FBI had a drug informant become friendly with Finton, according to the complaint. The informant told agents Finton had talked about wanting to get terror training and to fight in Gaza against the Israelis. Agents then worked to set up an "opportunity for action that we controlled," began recording contacts with him and put him in touch with an undercover agent who told Finton he was an al-Qaeda operative.

In a July conversation, Finton allegedly told the agent he was considering attacks on "government buildings, banks and police stations." His hope was that an attack would cause the U.S. military to withdraw from conflicts overseas.

The headline sounds great.  Feds catch terrorist.  But, um, was this guy actually going to be a terrorist before the Feds got involved?  I think it's fair to say that the Feds caught a guy who they created. Which is sort of scary when you think about it.  This is not like someone going undercover with the Mifa... this is leading someone on to think thinking they're going to kill Americans and letting them believe that they were being given everything they need to do so.  They only caught this guy red handed because the Feds were the one giving him everything he needed.

Now there are two sides to a coin... and this case seems like a coin situation.  It's easy to argue that Finton was in fact a terrorist in waiting and if he had hooked up with the real bad guys, bad things would have happened.

But the other side of the coin is what I'm starting to think the more I hear about the Feds catching guys who, um, they sort of created.

I mean, was Finton ever really a threat?  Sure he wanted to cause some harm, but was it real or was he pushed by the FBI?  If the FBI had left him alone would anything had happened?  It's hard to say of course, and on the face of it the country is safe... but is it?  Because at the same time the Feds were focusing all this energy on this one man who may not have even been a threat if the Feds had left him alone urban America continues to decay.  How many gang wars does the American city have to suffer through?  How many young people have to die before we start focusing on another form of terrorism happening blocks away from where you're reading this?

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