Friday, February 17, 2012

FBI Sting Leads To Arrest of Attempted Suicide Bomber In DC

The FBI had been carrying out a sting operation to ferret out Islamic extremists and it appears that their efforts have paid off. They arrested a suspect today, who was believed to be from Morocco in his late 20s or early 30s, when he received what he thought was a vest containing explosives so as to attack the US Capitol:
An FBI official says the man had expressed a desire to carry out a terrorist attack. By the end, he was willing to carry out a suicide mission, which makes this case different from most sting operations. His apparent target was to be the U.S. Capitol visitors' center. "He wanted to set off the explosives where people would be around," one official says.

Agents are conducting searches in Alexandria, Virginia, where the man had been living. They have not yet released the man's name while they do further investigating, but they say at this point they believe he was acting alone. And while they doubt he would have been capable of pulling this off by himself, that is always the unknown factor in a sting of this kind.
Law enforcement had been carrying out the sting operation for some time, and gave the suspect a fake bomb vest today.
“This arrest was the culmination of a lengthy and extensive operation during which the individual was closely and carefully monitored,” spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider said in a statement. “The U.S. Capitol Police was intimately involved in the investigation for the duration of the operation. At no time was the public or Congressional community in any danger.”

The Capitol police didn’t disclose any details but Fox News and NBC reported that the man was carrying a vest containing what he believed were explosives but were actually inert. He was arrested in the sting operation after leaving a mosque where he was praying before heading to the Capitol, Fox said.

NBC said that man was in his early 30s and had been under observation for months.
Expect the usual claims that the suspect was entrapped by law enforcement and that but for the law enforcement informant claims that they could provide explosives and/or know-how the suspect would not have carried out any terror attack and that it would have stopped at the mere plotting stage.

Those kinds of claims are unsuccessful at trial and the suspects are usually found guilty of crimes flowing from attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) to conspiracy. The suspect is someone who had no problem donning what he thought was a suicide bomb vest in order to murder civilians. He thought he was dealing with like-minded individuals who wanted to kill Americans for who they were and what they represented. He wanted to engage in acts of terrorism.

It is those acts for which he will be charged and the entrapment defenses will fail.

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