FW: Expose of FBI’s Muslim informants by IRP Fellow

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2011-08-30 14:03:49

Attachments : A couple of people sent me the story below this one (from RT) – I wasn’t initially sure about it as I couldn’t find the original story on any Berkley Website – but someone else managed to find it! So here it is!     journalism.berkeley….   Mother Jones: Expose of FBI’s Muslim informants by IRP FellowPublished on August 20, 2011 Mother Jones has published story by Investigative Reporting Fellow Trevor Aaronson that discloses how the FBI built a network of informants in Muslim communities. Aaronson’s story, “The Informants,” reveals how the FBI’s program was designed to find would-be terrorists before they strike, resulting in dozens of sting operations since 9/11 in which targets were led into action by informants. This multimedia investigation includes an 8,000-word cover story and the first and only publicly searchable, online, interactive database of more than 500 federal terrorism prosecutions since 9/11.Among the investigation’s key findings: • The FBI has 15,000 registered informants, many of them keeping watch on Muslim communities. Today, the FBI has nearly three times as many informants as it had 25 years ago. • Of more than 500 federal terrorism prosecutions since 9/11, nearly half involved the use of an informant—many of them motivated by money or the need to work off criminal or immigration violations. • Sting operations resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants. Of that total, 49 defendants participated in plots led by an “agent provocateur”—an aggressive FBI operative who provoked the targets into committing their alleged terrorist acts. • The FBI often uses the threat of deportation, as well as other forms of leverage, to win cooperation from informants. Aaronson wrote his story as a post-graduate Fellow at IRP, which is run by Professor Lowell Bergman. This is the fifth year of the fellowship program, which is unlike any other offered by an academic institution in the country. IRP Fellows spend a year with salary, expenses and editorial support pursuing stories in-depth and on multiple platforms. “It’s been an honor to work with Lowell Bergman and his colleagues at IRP,” Aaronson said. “They’ve created an environment that gives journalists the rare opportunity to plum the depths of a complicated story.” Aaronson is an Investigative Reporting Fellow at the University of California-Berkeley, and the Associate Director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. Previously, Aaronson was an investigative reporter and projects editor for The Commercial Appeal, the daily newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee, where his stories ranged from investigations of local government to reporting in Asia, Africa, and South America. The Florida native has won more than two-dozen national and regional awards for his work, including from the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. Aaronson was a finalist for the 2005 Livingston Awards for Young Journalists for a series about corruption at the Hollywood (Fla.) Police Department that led to federal indictments and the conviction of four high-ranking officers. Aaronson was formerly a staff writer for Village Voice Media’s newspapers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, established permanently in 2006, builds on work begun in 1992 in the seminars taught by Lowell Bergman, a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter and documentarian. Funded almost entirely by private grants and gifts, including a chair endowed by the Reva and David Logan Foundation of Chicago, the IRP functions both as a specialized graduate-level training program and as a non-profit newsgathering operation, generating stories for major broadcast, print and online outlets.For more details, contact: Investigative Reporting Program UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism 2481 Hearst Avenue Berkeley, CA 94709 510-643-1386/510-643-1299  From: Sent: 29 August 2011 01:02To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;Subject: Interesting news site… FBI organizes almost all terror plots in the US Published: 23 August, 2011, 01:02Edited: 23 August, 2011, 01:02 The Federal Bureau of Investigation employs upwards of 15,000 undercover agents today, ten times what they had on the roster back in 1975. If you think that’s a few spies too many — spies earning as much as $100,000 per assignment — one doesn’t have to go too deep into their track record to see their accomplishments. Those agents are responsible for an overwhelming amount of terrorist stings that have stopped major domestic catastrophes in the vein of 9/11 from happening on American soil. Another thing those agents are responsible for, however, is plotting those very schemes. The FBI has in recent years used trained informants not just to snitch on suspected terrorists, but to set them up from the get-go. A recent report put together by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley analyses some striking statistics about the role of FBI informants in terrorism cases that the Bureau has targeted in the decade since the September 11 attacks. The report reveals that the FBI regularly infiltrates communities where they suspect terrorist-minded individuals to be engaging with others. Regardless of their intentions, agents are sent in to converse within the community, find suspects that could potentially carry out “lone wolf” attacks and then, more or less, encourage them to do so. By providing weaponry, funds and a plan, FBI-directed agents will encourage otherwise-unwilling participants to plot out terrorist attacks, only to bust them before any events fully materialize. Additionally, one former high-level FBI officials speaking to Mother Jones says that, for every informant officially employed by the bureau, up to three unofficial agents are working undercover. The FBI has used those informants to set-up and thus shut-down several of the more high profile would-be attacks in recent years. The report reveals that the Washington DC Metro bombing plot, the New York City subway plot, the attempt to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and dozens more were all orchestrated by FBI agents. In fact, reads the report, only three of the more well-known terror plots of the last decade weren’t orchestrated by FBI-involved agents. The report reveals that in many of the stings, important meetings between informants and the unknowing participants are left purposely unrecorded, as to avoid any entrapment charges that could cause the case to be dismissed. Perhaps the most high-profile of the FBI-proposed plots was the case of the Newburgh 4. Around an hour outside of New York City, an informant infiltrated a Muslim community and engaged four local men to carry out a series of attacks. Those men may have never actually carried out an attack, but once the informant offered them a plot and a pair of missiles, they agreed. Defense attorneys cried “entrapment,” but the men still were sentenced to 25 years apiece. “The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents,” Martin Stolar tells Mother Jones. Stolar represented the suspect involved in a New York City bombing plot that was set-up by FBI agents. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.” For their part, the FBI says this method is a plan for “preemption,” “prevention” and “disruption.” The report also reveals that, of the 500-plus prosecutions of terrorism-related cases they analyzed, nearly half of them involved the use of informants, many of whom worked for the FBI in exchange for money or to work off criminal charges. Of the 158 prosecutions carried out, 49 defendants participated in plots that agent provocateurs arranged on behalf of the FBI. Experts note that the chance of winning a terrorism-related trial, entrapment or not, is near impossible. “The plots people are accused of being part of — attacking subway systems or trying to bomb a building — are so frightening that they can overwhelm a jury,” David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor, tells Mother Jones. Since 9/11, almost two-thirds of the cases linked to terrorism have ended with guilty pleas. “They don’t say, ‘I’ve been entrapped,’ or, ‘I was immature,’” a retired FBI official remarks. All of this and those guilty pleas often stem for just being in the right place at the wrong time. Farhana Khera of the group Muslim Advocate notes that agents go into mosques on “fishing expeditions” just to see where they can get interest in the community. “The FBI is now telling agents they can go into houses of worship without probable cause,” says Khera. “That raises serious constitutional issues.” From the set-up to the big finish, the whole sting operation is ripe with constitutional issues such as that. A decade since 9/11, however, the FBI is reaching through whatever means it can pull together to keep terrorists — or whom they think could someday become one — from ever hurting America. © Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005 – 2011. All rights reserved.

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