Monday, November 29, 2010

Well, On Second Thought

Fuller review of the Portland bomber arrest makes me think that my post about “doing it right” may have been premature.

The FBI affidavit for the arrest and charge of the guy involved is online, and I have read it in full. You can read it here if you like; it is very tedious reading. I’m not sure that I’m fully on board with Glenn Greenwald in describing it as “The FBI successfully thwarts its own terrorist plot,” but I am certainly less than thrilled with what I see in it. Greenwald’s article is easier reading than the affidavit and, while I don’t draw all of the same conclusions that he does, he says nothing in it that I would refute. I should point out that he is an attorney and I am not, so I’m not going to pick any kind of fight with him.

I am just disgusted with the charge of “Attempted Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” which is the sole charge against him. I would be tempted to charge the Attorney General who filed that silly charge with “Attempted Use of Office To Terrorize America.” The guy was not attempting to create a “mushroom cloud” for God’s sake.

I’m not sure that the FBI “created” the plot per se, but they were certainly more actively involved in moving it forward than I think is the proper role of law enforcement. They were making suggestions to the guy, finding locations for him, actually urging him on, and they even built the bomb itself for him. If that doesn’t amount to entrapment, it certainly comes close to it.

The whole thing sounds less like an agency whose purpose is to protect the public that it does a bunch of cowboys intent on making a name for themselves and/or creating a from of theatre to justify their bureau’s existence.

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