Is the FBI guilty of entrapment?
Over the past couple of weeks, the FBI has arrested two individuals who were attempting to carry out separate terrorist attacks in the name of Islamic jihad on U.S. soil.
First there was the arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud in Portland, Oregon on November 26. Mohamud attempted to detonate a car bomb during the lighting of a Christmas tree in downtown Portland. If Mohamud had succeeded it would have resulted in the loss of hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. But the detonator was a fake. It was supplied to Mohamud by the very undercover FBI agents who arrested him.
Then there was the arrest of Muhammad Hussain (formerly known as Antonio Martinez) on December 8 as he attempted to detonate a bomb at a U.S. military recruitment center in Catonsville, Maryland, just west of Baltimore. But his detonator was also a fake and had been supplied to him by undercover FBI agents.
Liberals have long preferred that the question of terrorism be addressed by law enforcement rather than the military. So you would think liberals would be pleased with the arrests of Mohamud and Hussain. Yet this is not the case.
Consider what Glenn Greenwald wrote on Salon.comwith regard to Mohamud’s arrest. While Greenwald acknowledged it was possible the FBI had legitimately arrested a man intent on committing murder and mayhem, he also believes the FBI could have “created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a ‘Terrorist plot’ which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction. (2)
So, in the world according to Glenn Greenwald, the FBI is creating terrorists.
Geraldo Rivera agrees. During a recent appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, Rivera called Hussain’s arrest “bogus, absolutely bogus,” claimed Hussain had been “seduced” by the FBI into bombing the military recruitment center, and said these “are not real crimes.”
But what if Muhamud had successfully detonated that car bomb in downtown Portland? And what if Martinez had successfully blown up that military recruitment center near Baltimore? What if thousands of lives had been lost as a result? And what if it had been learned that the FBI had been investigating both Muhamud and Hussain and had not intervened? Greenwald and Rivera would be the first to accuse the FBI of dereliction of duty.
Yet Greenwald’s “concoction” claim and Rivera’s “seduction” argument beg the following question. If undercover operations are beyond the pale, then what tactics should the FBI use to combat terrorism? Do Greenwald and Rivera have better alternatives? What are their solutions? But don’t expect them to be forthcoming with any alternatives or solutions.
Unfortunately, what has become apparent is that many liberals view Muslim terrorists as yet another class of victims, another class of oppressed peoples. If not for the big, bad FBI, Mohammed Osman Muhamud and Muhammad Hussain would probably be standing on top of a hill holding a Coke bottle and chanting, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”
These sentiments, of course, are not new amongst liberals. We saw them manifest after the fallout of the Abu Ghraib scandal and with detainees at Guantanamo Bay. But now that these terrorist plots are being planned on U.S. soil on a far more regular basis these sentiments are far more troubling. They are troubling because it is an indication a significant segment of our population is still in denial about the nature of terrorism inspired by Islamic fundamentalism. Notwithstanding the cataclysmic events of September 11, 2001, there exists a belief amongst many liberals that these acts don’t happen here or that if they do happen here there is no link to Islamic fundamentalism.
So when confronted with attempted terrorist attacks in Portland or suburban Baltimore it is easier for many liberals to cast aspersions against the FBI than to acknowledge there are people living among us who would do them and their families grievous harm. It is more comforting for liberals to think the FBI is wantonly entrapping people than to think that someone might actually be trying to detonate an explosive in a public square, a military recruitment center, or perhaps even the train you take back and forth to work. Many liberals would rather believe the FBI can turn law abiding citizens into cold blooded killers than to believe some of our Muslim neighbors are prepared to commit mass murder.
It is a case of pity the poor terrorist. Heaven help us.
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