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Is the FBI Catching Terrorists, or Coaching Them?

Posted on Aug 22, 2011

A new investigation by Mother Jones reveals that the FBI has cultivated a huge network of informants and spies, many of whom are directed to seek out disgruntled Muslims. “And then, in case after case, the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity” to commit terrorist attacks, Trevor Aaronson writes.

The number of informants has ballooned from 1,500 in 1975 to roughly 15,000 now.

The FBI has taken an aggressive approach, trying to identify and lock up potential terrorists before they can attack the country, but the sting scheme comes awfully close to entrapment.

The Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley collaborated on the story. Some of the key findings are below.  —PZS

Mother Jones:

  • Nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by money (operatives can be paid as much as $100,000 per assignment) or the need to work off criminal or immigration violations. (For more on the details of those 508 cases, see our charts page and searchable database.)
  • Sting operations resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants. Of that total, 49 defendants participated in plots led by an agent provocateur—an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.
  • With three exceptions, all of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings. (The exceptions are Najibullah Zazi, who came close to bombing the New York City subway system in September 2009; Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian who opened fire on the El-Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport; and failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.)
  • In many sting cases, key encounters between the informant and the target were not recorded—making it hard for defendants claiming entrapment to prove their case.
  • Terrorism-related charges are so difficult to beat in court, even when the evidence is thin, that defendants often don’t risk a trial.

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By Maani, August 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment


If you mean the quote that, ““The fact that we are able to discuss this without being concerned that we might get picked up seems to say that we aren’t a fascist state. The other questions remain unanswered,” it came from Robert Speed’s post just prior to cpb’s response.  And I completely agree with his response.

Let’s try a thought experiment.

If I stand on a soapbox in a country that is a dictatorship and denounce the government and the leader, I might (i) get arrested, (ii) be tortured, (iii) be killed.  Thus, the end result is that I have had no effect whatsoever (unless I am some sort of “well-known” person and end up a “martyr” of sorts…)

If I stand on a soapbox in the U.S.A. and denounce the goverment and the leader, I will…probably be left alone, since we have freedom of speech.  BUT, I will also be completely ignored by the government - and thus have EQUALLY ZERO EFFECT on it.

Free speech is, admittedly, a wonderful thing.  But if the end result of it - having one’s government completely ignore you - is no better than the end result of being tortured or killed, wherein lies the value - the “active” value - of free speech?


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By diamond, August 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

“Do we want a safe society where the
terrorists can run amok?” “Does this create a true
fascists state?” , “

Unfortunately RS the terrorists have already run amok on several occasions but it was state terror. ‘A true fascists state’? -that’s the plan and progress is ongoing. The cultivation of patsies and the fake terror attacks are how they plan to get there. When you scare people out of their minds they can’t think straight, you being a typical example. They even call it ‘shock and awe’ themselves and this is one of the few honest terms they use. When people are frightened they revert to the reptilian part of their brain and stop using the reasoning part of their brain: this is a physiological fact and one that the fascists are very aware of. If not for fear the people of the US would be out en masse surrounding the White House and demanding answers over 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, but they aren’t are they? They’re too afraid of the manufactured ‘terrorists’ to ponder the details of the ‘terror’ attacks but if they did they would see how they’ve been played and the whole house of cards would come tumbling down.

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cpb's avatar

By cpb, August 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

@ EmileZ

Sorry - working while commenting doesn’t always mix. 
Totally missed your ‘tone’ there.  Allow me to express my
‘lol’ after the fact.  Cheers.

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cpb's avatar

By cpb, August 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

@ EmileZ


Robert Speed - immediately below my comment.


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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, August 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

@ cpb
I think I speak on behalf of everyone everywhere with the slightest modicum of basic decency when I demand you reveal the specific source of the original quote in question, and don’t try to wriggle out of doing so.

The ball is in your court cpb.

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cpb's avatar

By cpb, August 23, 2011 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

@ EmileZ

Copy/Paste - sigh…

My internal copydesk has been notified and appropriately

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, August 23, 2011 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

@ cpb

Don’t think you can get in good with this truthdigger just by accurately quoting “yuour”.

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cpb's avatar

By cpb, August 23, 2011 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

@ EmileZ

“..isn’t it your responsibility to make some effort to
identify where yuour quote came from???”

Well that is perhaps a matter of taste but I take your
point.  I have noticed that different bloggers “quote”
others in a variety of ways on this site.  I’d like to
employ more effective formatting such as I’ve seen by some
but I haven’t figured that out yet (there’s nothing in the

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, August 23, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment


Perhaps I misunderstood you, perhaps not. I did not see the quotes.

HOWEVER… isn’t it your responsibility to make some effort to identify where yuour quote came from???

Please do so in the future or no pudding for you.

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cpb's avatar

By cpb, August 23, 2011 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

@ EmileZ

cpb is not a handle and it doesn’t matter one way or the

My inane comment?  You might consider being more specific? 
Having read your comment on this thread I don’t see where
we’re so far apart in perspective.

Feel free to hint towards main ingredients of said
pudding.  Proof is so often masked by layers of (edible
petroleum) whipped topping.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, August 23, 2011 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

@ cpb

That’s quite a handle you’ve got there.

Anyhow… I call baloney on your inane remark.

The proof is in the pudding.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, August 23, 2011 at 10:40 am Link to this comment


You misunderstand me Sir.

I am not baiting commenters here. I am exposing the political bias of the editorial staff at Truthdig. Those willing to protect the status quo.

In doing so, I am showing that this place is simply a propaganda outlet. Making that clear makes it much less effective in it’s propaganda role.

I do the same thing with the corporate media all the time.

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cpb's avatar

By cpb, August 23, 2011 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

“The fact that we are able to discuss this
without being concerned that we might get picked up
seems to say that we aren’t a fascist state. The
other questions remain unanswered.”

Surely you jest.  This comes from the same line of
reasoning which demands that everyone just stop whining
already because we should be happy we don’t live in
[insert country of choice].

The ability to discuss such things is easily understood
in many ways and says nothing definitive about the
nature of the state in question. 

An interesting but failed attempt to suggest plausible
rational for the behavior of the security apparatus. 
Either blind or desperately stretching things,
considering the open example of WTC ‘93.

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By Robert Speed, August 23, 2011 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The peril of domestic police is that to find
terrorist they have either received a tip, get lucky
and pull over a stupid criminal for speeding and find
evidence, or they have to be proactive. When they are
being proactive and cultivating a terrorist to become
an informer they are also pretending to be a
terrorist themselves and plotting to commit crimes is
a good way. That can mean that stings are either
false or genuine and if they come to fruition the
folks they con are fair game if they take actions to
commit crimes. This serves to warn amateur terrorists
that they are being infiltrated and can discourage
them. The professional criminals take notice but
aren’t really discouraged. Police have to show
progress and staging an arrest is one way to do it.
The questions we have to ask ourselves as the tax
payers are “Do we want a safe society where the
terrorists can run amok?” “Does this create a true
fascists state?” , “Are we really finding the real
terrorists or are we creating more terrorists when we
con the Gullible into committing unsuccessful acts of
terror.”  The fact that we are able to discuss this
without being concerned that we might get picked up
seems to say that we aren’t a fascist state. The
other questions remain unanswered.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, August 23, 2011 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

This is a link to a Democracy Now story by Anjali Kamat in collaboration with Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films.

It is called “Entrapment or Foiling Terror”.

If you have not seen it, I encourage you to watch.

Here is the Democracy Now squib:

Prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final arguments this week in the trial of the Newburgh Four, a high-profile case that has made national headlines as a potent example of so-called “homegrown terror.” The defense has argued that the defendants were entrapped by government agents and not predisposed to commit a terrorist crime. For several months, Democracy Now!’s Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films traveled through Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey to track the Newburgh case and two others. In all three, Muslim men were arrested on terrorism charges. In all three, no terrorist crime was actually committed. And all three cases relied heavily on hundreds of hours of surveillance recorded by a paid government informant. Today, a Democracy Now! special investigation.

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By thecrow, August 23, 2011 at 5:13 am Link to this comment

Mueller’s FBI is sitting on the black boxes from the WTC attack aircraft and the recovered Convar data from the WTC hard drives. Why?

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By Matthias, August 23, 2011 at 12:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

nice, nice

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By David V. Dafinoiu, August 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In 2001, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) started experimenting with methods for applying market-based concepts to intelligence.

One such project, DARPA’s Future Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP) program tested whether prediction markets, markets in which people bet on the likelihood of future events, could be used to improve upon existing approaches to preparing strategic intelligence. The program was cancelled in the summer of 2003 under a barrage of congressional criticism. Senators Ron Wyden and Byron Dorgan accused the Pentagon of wasting taxpayer dollars on “terrorism betting parlors,” and that “Spending millions of dollars on some kind of fantasy league terror game is absurd and, frankly, ought to make every American angry.”

David V. Dafinoiu

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By blogdog, August 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

RE: “... the world and every living thing in it is slowly being destroyed for mindless

curiously (or not), as hard as it may be to choke down, on some things we couldn’t
agree more -

@ Michael Cavlan RN: you’re not the only one who wonders what took Mother
Jones so long and why this story isn’t in more so-called - and as for
the Obomber Regime’s embracing cointel, bad choice to use it as a straw man to
bait TD bloggers - you should have learned by now that criticism of TD’s editorial
board (i.e. Robert and his sons) is something in which you’re not alone

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By diamond, August 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

The fact is the man they framed for the first bombing of the World Trade Centre had his visa denied by the US Embassy in Cairo. The State Department intervened and overruled the embassy and allowed him into America even though he was actually wanted on ‘terrorism’ charges in Egypt. Why?

When the Murrah building was bombed, allegedly by Timothy McVeigh, Clinton had to dispatch bomb disposal experts to dismantle at least three other bombs inside the building. Police found these bombs on three different levels of the building.This was widely broadcast in early ‘breaking news’ reports. These news reports also said that the bomb disposal experts said that the bombs were the work of ‘professionals’ not amateurs. One of the policeman on the scene who talked about what he saw was ‘suicided’ shortly after.

And what really went on on 9/11 is a veritable smorgasbord of false flag operations all running simultaneously, requiring numerous people in the military,intelligence services, government, the FAA, NORAD and the media to be in on the con, as they undoubtedly were.

And I can assure you that it’s not just the FBI that cultivates networks of so called terrorists. It’s global. It goes on in Britain, Algeria, the US and all over the world. There is a superb dissection of how and why this goes on in a book called ‘The London Bombings’. Even more pertinently Charles A. Reich in his book ‘The Greening of America’ describes the anatomy of the corporate state:

“What is the nature of the social order within which we all live? Why are we so powerless? Why does our state seem impervious to democratic or popular control? Why does it seem to be insane, destroying both self and environment for the sake of principles that remain obscure? Our present social order is so contrary to anything we have learned to expect about a government or a society that its structure is almost beyond comprehension…The corporate state is an immensely powerful machine, ordered, legalistic, rational yet utterly out of human control, wholly and perfectly indifferent to any human values.’

This is a frighteningly accurate explanation for why the world and every living thing in it is slowly being destroyed for mindless greed and to placate share holders and boards of directors while the majority gets shafted and oppressed and is the reason that people are rising up all over the world and demanding change.

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By Maani, August 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

BTW, berniem, your comment is right on.  It is all about “false flag” attacks, whether it be Pearl Harbor (known about in advance, but not stopped), the Gulf of Tonkin (known to be a lie by Johnson BEFORE he went on public television to announce it), the WTC 1993 (created and orchestrated by the FBI), or 9/11 (whether via negligence, malfeasance or active complicity, helped along by individuals and/or agencies of our government).

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By Maani, August 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

The 1993 WTC “terrorist” attack was orchestrated by the FBI.  This was proven - absolutely - and was even stated so on the front page of The New York Times.

And now we have former terrorist “czar” Richard Clarke stating that the CIA originally tried to recruit at least four of the alleged 9/11 terrorists - and then let them go!

Where is the Mad Hatter when you need him!  LOL.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, August 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

By the way. I should point out that the REAL Mother Jones would disown the editorial staff of the magazine Mother Jones, is what I meant in the above.

Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
Mother Jones

or my fav

Injustice boils in men’s hearts as does steel in its cauldron, ready to pour forth, white hot, in the fullness of time.
Mother Jones

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By Ms Freeh, August 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

3rd read

Edward Rodgers was in charge of investigating cases of Child Abuse at the FBI

THE DENVER POST - Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire
May 17, 1990
Sisters win sex lawsuit vs. dad $2.3 million given for years of abuse
By Howard Prankratz
Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer

Two daughters of former state and federal law enforcement official Edward Rodgers were awarded $2.319,400 yesterday, after a Denver judge and jury found that the women suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father.

The award to Sharon Simone, 45, and Susan Hammond, 44, followed testimony of Rodgers’ four daughters in person or through depositions, describing repeated physical abuse and sexual assaults by their father from 1944 through 1965.

Rodgers, 72, who became a child abuse expert after retiring from the FBI and joining the colorado Springs DA’s office, failed to appear for the trial. But in a deposition taken in March, Rodgers denied ever hitting or sexually abusing his children.

4th read

FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse

Tuesday February 17, 2004 11:46 PM


WASHINGTON (AP) - The former chief internal watchdog at the FBI has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl and has admitted he had a history of molesting other children before he joined the bureau for what became a two-decade career.

John H. Conditt Jr., 53, who retired in 2001, was sentenced last week to 12 years in prison in Tarrant County court in Fort Worth, Texas, after he admitted he molested the daughter of two FBI agents after he retired. He acknowledged molesting at least two other girls before he began his law enforcement career, his lawyer said.

5th read

Monday August 8, 2005 Longtime FBI agent sentenced to prison on child porn count


Associated Press Writer

BOISE, Idaho (AP) A longtime FBI agent who helped arrest mountain-man Claude Dallas and was involved in a deadly 1984 siege involving white supremacists in Washington state is going to prison for 12 months after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.

William Buie, 64, of Boise, most recently worked as an investigator for the Idaho attorney general’s office.

6th read

February 22, 2007

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. A F.B.I. analyst has been sentenced to seven years in prison for having sex with a young girl in Spotsylvania County.
Forty-four-year-old Anthony John Lesko entered an Alford plea yesterday in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to nine counts of felony indecent liberties upon a child. An Alford plea means Lesko doesn’t admit guilt but believes there is enough evidence for a conviction.
Authorities say Lesko engaged in a sex act with her nine times, beginning when she was nine years old.
According to the plea, Lesko said he was a victim in the case. He said the girl initiated the contact.

7th read

FBI Agent Accused Of Masturbating In Public

May 25, 2007 09:02 PM
FBI Agent Accused Of Masturbating In Public

Posted by, Marissa Pasquet KOLD News 13 News Editor

FBI Special Agent Ryan Seese, 34, is facing sex offense charges after a cleaning woman said she found him masturbating in a women’s lavatory on campus, according to a University of Arizona police spokesman.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, August 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Oh Look

The FBI targeted peace and social justice activists for Grand Jury investigations. Including people that I know personally, members of the Anti-War Committee, WAMM Women Against Military Madness and Freedom Road Socialists.

Under the direct orders of Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder and with the personal authorization of president Obama himself. That is how it works folks.

We expect to see this in “radical” Mother Jones real soon. Yeah, right. Mother Jones would disown these people. Mother Jones is just one more Obama/Democrat appologist rag, in the vein of John Nichols and The Nation.

But we can be rest assured that Mother Jones will be given “ink” here on Truthdig.

Guess I can forget that Truthdigger Of The Week Award eh?

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By PatrickHenry, August 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

I’ll bet their budget increased commensurately with the ‘terror’ they helped create.

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By berniem, August 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Typical strategy for a fascist state. Give ‘em the matches and point them in the direction of the Reichstag!

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