This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Proactively Anticipating Jihad

"We're not going to wait for the person to mobilize on his own time line."
Michael B. Steinbach,  chief, F.B.I. national security branch

"They're manufacturing terrorism cases. These people are five steps away from being a danger to the United States."
Michael German, former undercover agent, F.B.I.

"[Oregon imams warn] that we have those among us who are not with us."
"Avoid the F.B.I. like the plague. They're definitely not an ally. That's what the F.B.I. does -- they infiltrate."
Tom Nelson, Muslim lawyer, Portland
China unlikely to join Obama's anti-ISIS coalition: Report

Is that surprising? That the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States infiltrates suspected enemies of the  United States? That as an intelligence and public safety agency which is tasked to protect the nation, it undertakes to measure that danger by infiltrating its presence to be able to assess situations as they arise, and to reach a judgement call? Pssst! In Canada, the RCMP is known to do the same thing. And hear this: similar intelligence and public safety agencies elsewhere do too!

Its critics point out that the agency is using questionable tactics by gaining the trust of suspects and leading them to make decisions based on their suggestibility and commitment to supporting and upholding an ideology whose thrust is a deliberate threat against the United States. In other words, the agency has a job to do, one they take seriously and they set about doing it, however best they can.

Or, seen another way, they manipulate vulnerable people who are not too bright, by befriending and encouraging them to proceed with initiatives they may think about but would never commit to, if agents weren't tasked to incite them to commit deeds which they will later be accused of, face a trial and a finding of guilty as charged, and end up incarcerated for a long, very long time.

These secret operations have resulted in charges being brought against some 90 Americans whom it is believed have been linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, in the past two years. F.B.I. officials deny they are in the business of entrapping people. Yet investigations across the country have revealed that agents have aided suspected extremists to acquire weapons, study bombing targets, and routing some to Syria, joining the Islamic State.

They have little choice, say F.B.I. spokespeople, given the situation of pervasive social media allowing a cloak of anonymity to fall over extremists. Online stings, as well as those conducted face-to-face have become a vital defence against attacks by extremist jihadis. According to counterterrorism officials, Islamic State inspires loyalists to commit to swift strikes, taking immediate advantage of fresh radicalization.

There certainly have been some documented instances where paid informants and agents have encouraged mentally unstable people to commit to expressing a wish to embark on terrorist activities. To the point of providing them with weapons. And once the suspects have been lulled into the complacency of feeling they're doing what is expected of them and begin to launch an attack, they are immediately apprehended; another attack foiled.

Of the thousand open investigations the F.B.I. admits to, a "significant number" -- some hundreds -- entailed undercover work. Since 2014, court records indicate that the F.B.I. has used undercover operations more frequently against suspected ISIL operatives. Pre-dating that, however, was a similar modus operandi used against suspected al-Qaeda threats.

The F.B.I. has identified latterly, a larger, more dangerous pool of suspects, and it has acted accordingly. Espousing support for the Islamic State or exhibiting symptoms of extremism on social media sites have become the first hints of where they should be concentrating their attention in many instances. Agents look through Facebook and Twitter to isolate those likely to consider terrorism. It's what they're schooled to do, after all.

Sting operations are well known to Muslim leaders in the community. And at mosques imams warn the faithful to beware of the tactics and techniques of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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