Entrapment and the arrest of Stewart David Nozette.
Jews who follow the traditional prayer book say a little rhyming couplet each morning:
Al teviaini lo liday nisayon
Velo liday bizayon…
A fair translation, mimicking the meter, would be:
Lord, let me not be tested
And let me not be detested…
The way to succeed as a moral person is not by thinking yourself impervious to temptation. If you do not recognize the weakness of your power, you will likely succumb to the power of your weakness. “Do not be sure of yourself until the day of your death,” the Mishna warns.
In consequence, there is no more illegitimate investigatory enterprise than entrapment. To approach a person and offer him unethical or illegal goodies, then to accuse him of criminality if he accedes, is corruption of law rather than enforcement. No one needs to prove to me — to grab a handy candidate — that I can be moved to behave beneath my standard. Perhaps when I am too up, perhaps when I am too down, perhaps by flattery, perhaps by intimidation, perhaps by offers, perhaps by threats. Constant vigilance is required to avoid the occasions of sin, but the battle rages within, day in, day out.
What is my/your price? What would it take for me/you to sell my/your soul? Better we should never find out, never even see that borderline on the horizon.
WHICH BRINGS US to the grim tale of Stewart David Nozette. Nozette was employed until 1998 by various agencies of our federal government, among them NASA and the Department of Defense. In the course of his distinguished career, he is said to have memorized some information classified as… er, classified. How vital this eleven-year-old undocumented data might be we can only imagine.
From 1998 until 2008 Nozette worked as a consultant for an aeronautics company under Israeli ownership. This firm won Pentagon contracts, in the course of which Nozette came under suspicion for padding expense sheets. His financial documents were subpoenaed but he was never charged. Presumably this history afforded the FBI an inkling of Nozette’s need or desire for ready cash and his willingness to take unwholesome steps towards its acquisition.
The FBI decided to play Cupid to his cupidity, sending an undercover agent to approach him in the guise of a Mossad spymaster. Nozette took the bait and agreed to sell his knowledge, again all from memory with no substantiating paperwork. The Feds closed in and charged him with espionage.
To sum up, this man was never suspected of spying in the past. He never approached any agency of any foreign government to offer his services or resources. If he ever committed a crime, it was ordering a hamburger and billing Uncle Sam for a steak. Forces of law enforcement detected in him an impulse toward gain that could accommodate even the ill-gotten. They manufactured a fictional crime and demonstrated that he was corruptible.
Where does this road lead? Should we send drug dealers past the home of everyone with a history of using illegal drugs, to see if they could be prompted to buy? Here is a scenario: this man will be tried before a judge, but if that judge has never been offered a sizeable bribe in an FBI sting, the verdict will be tainted. No one in society may be deemed a legitimate practitioner of a position of trust until the police have engaged to test his mettle by offering him a chance to steal. Baloney! This is a truly contemptible process.
MORE SHOCKING YET is choosing to induce a Jew to spy for Israel. The message sent by the current administration in targeting Nozette is that Israel is viewed as a hostile entity and every Jew is seen as harboring dual loyalty. Scratch the surface of every Jewish-American and there is a greedy spy just beneath. Maybe the next step is to collect all of them into internment camps where they can be observed more closely.
How is this different from the FBI offering to sell explosives to some angry Muslims who wanted to bomb a synagogue? In a number of ways. First, those guys were looking to make a buy. Then, similar to a spouse making inquiries about a hit man, it is legitimate to entrap and record. (Jewish law has this exception as well.) In this instance an actual criminal solicitation is intercepted before it can claim victims.
Second, the Muslims were willing to bomb a random place of worship, killing and destroying the innocent for malice without gain. Do you think Stewart David Nozette would have responded if the faux Mossad guy tried to enlist him in bombing a local mosque? And third, those people were out there loudly proclaiming their other loyalties to all who would listen.
This is a sad day in the history of American law enforcement and a slap in the face for Jews and Israel.
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