The FBI and Counterterrorism

Monday, August 29, 2011

Since 9/11 the FBI has made counterterrorism its number one priority, and its efforts have spawned a wide network of informants who are mostly tasked with spying on Muslim Americans. Mother Jones reporter Trevor Aaronson writes about how the Agency is infiltrating communities and in some cases, provoking people to plan terrorist attacks. He's the author of "Terrorists for the FBI," in the latest issue of Mother Jones.


Trevor Aaronson

Comments [8]

jgarbuz from Queens

Any enterprise, be it the Communist party, Al-Qaeda or other jihadists, the KKK, the Mafia, or any organization or belief system that advocates the overthrow of the principles enshrined in our Declaration of INdependence, or in our Constitution, that is to say that impinges on our right to Life, LIberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is an organization or belief system that has to be carefully scrutinized. Your rights end where my rights begin. You do not have the right to change my constitution. Only the elected leaders do. You have no right to extort money from me. Only the government has that right in the form of taxation :)

Aug. 29 2011 12:45 PM

@jgarbuz -- The Mafia is, by all accounts I know, a criminal enterprise by design.

Perhaps you can explain how being Jewish and a communist is a crime? I know quite a few Jewish communists and socialists. Not one has ever even had a speeding ticket to my knowledge.

Or how being a member of the Black Panthers, which was certainly not an avowedly criminal enterprise.

Aug. 29 2011 12:36 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

How do we react when we change the names of the players from "Muslims" to "Nazis"? Do we change our reactions or the rules?

And in fact, did the FBI do any spying on pro-Nazi Fifth Columners preceding and during WWII?

I always find it useful to switch things around to see how it plays under current sensibilities and values... it points out our shifting rules and multiple standards and the filters we use to perceive what we hear.

Aug. 29 2011 12:35 PM

I've been carrying my Lucky Flashlight since 9/11, and there have been no major terrorist attacks.... About as much substance in that claim as there is in unsubstantiated FBI, CIA, Obama claims.

Aug. 29 2011 12:33 PM
A listener

Journalist Petra Bartosiewicz, who was been on this beat for awhile, published a fascinating account on this topic in Harper's Magazine a month ago:

It would have been nice to hear her on this topic as a guest, as well.

Aug. 29 2011 12:29 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The FBI did use entrapment methods in the last century to entrap Jewish communists, Italian mafiosa, Black Panthers, and others who were deemed a threat at the time. Also KKK and some "Christian" militia groups.

It is the job of the FBI to be proactive and weed out genuine potential dangers BEFORE the bomb goes off. Of course, this could go to the extreme as depicted in the Tom Cruise movie "Minority Report" where people's thoughts are monitored and potential resisters are arrested well in advance of the crime.

Finding the balance between security and destroying individual right to privacy of thought is where the tightrope is strung. But acting only after the bomb goes off is too late for the innocents who die.

Aug. 29 2011 12:24 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What I didn't hear in the description of the Derek Sharif case was whether Sharif expressed any desire to carry out an attack before the undercover agent contacted him, or whether he might have worried he'd lose the housing & other help the agent was providing him if he didn't go along. Is there any evidence either way?

Aug. 29 2011 12:18 PM

This ties into a widespread pattern of Bush-Obama campaigns to create crime.

What would be the outcome if the FBI tried these same tactics on right Christian or Jewish people? Or on left-wing whatever? Or even some so-called moderates? Or course, when it's 'moderate' crime, it's a wholesale illegal war leveled against Iraq or Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Chile, Iran. . . .

Are we back in the bad old days of the 50s and 60s when US 'security' and 'intelligence' agencies were the number 1 instigators of violence around the world? Were we ever out of those days?

Add to this the vicious Obama campaign against whisteblowers and government transparency — we should be very concerned.

Aug. 29 2011 12:17 PM

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