[Gadi Adelman is] "Leading in the movement in the study of counter-terrorism", Dr. Walid Phares, Advisor to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the US House of Representatives

The Sting?

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The Sting?When government agents pose as terrorist sympathizers, and jihadists are subsequently arrested, is this good law enforcement or just plain entrapment?

1973's movie blockbuster was the film “The Sting” starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman, taking home 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture. In the movie, Redford and Newman pull off a “con” for money. The person that gets conned is known as the “mark”. Today, the term “mark” is still used, but in terrorism cases, the “mark” is more than likely to be a Muslim Jihadist.

According to

STING, slang: the bribing of public officials, used by undercover investigators to collect evidence of wrongdoing.

ENTRAPMENT, noun: the luring by a law-enforcement agent of a person into committing a crime.

With all the arrests lately as well as several past convictions, many people are saying that the government is using entrapment to coerce and frame innocent people, others are saying it is just good old fashion police work to stop would be terrorists. Which is it?


August 4, 2004, Yassin Aref (pictured) and Mohammed Hossain were arrested in what became known as the “Albany Sting”. In 2006 Mohammed Musharraf Hossain was convicted of 30 counts and Yassin Muhiddin Aref was convicted of 10 counts. On March 8, 2007 both Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain were sentenced to 15 years each in prison.

On May 20, 2009, 4 men were arrested in the Riverdale section of the Bronx after they planted bombs in cars outside two synagogues in what was called the NY synagogue bomb plot. The men, Onta Williams, Laguerre Payen, James Cromitie and David Williams IV were all convicted on October 19, 2010 and face up to life in prison.

There were many other “stings” including the Fort Dix 5, Dallas skyscrapers, Washington subways, a Chicago nightclub and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, but the two latest were against a Portland, Oregon Christmas celebration and Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland.

In all of these cases that have gone to court, the defense uses the same tactic- entrapment of people who otherwise wouldn't or couldn't have carried out an attack and the government entices Muslims into terrorism. In each of these cases, this defense has failed miserably.

How is this “sting” tactic any different from when it is used against a politician or a person looking to kill their spouse? The only difference here is the “mark” is a Muslim.

In the  Portland, Oregon Christmas sting, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19 year old Somali-born teenager plotted “a spectacular show” of terrorism for months, planning to blow up a van full of explosives at the Christmas tree lighting event where thousands were in attendance.

Even in a report by the Huffington Post, which is far from “right wing”,

Mohamud stated, “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave dead or injured” and also stated he didn't mind that children would die if he bombed a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

Does this sound like an individual that had no intention of terror prior to the FBI “coercing” him?

According to the Associated Press,

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested Friday in downtown Portland after using a cell phone to try to detonate what he thought were explosives in a van, prosecutors said. It turned out to be a dummy bomb put together by FBI agents, and authorities said the public was never in danger.

The reason this sting will sail through court to a conviction like the others is because the FBI gave Mohamud so many chances to back out.

The FBI affidavit said Mohamud had been warned several times about the seriousness of his plan and that women and children could die, and that he could back out. But he told agents: “Since I was 15 I thought about all this,” and “It's gonna be a fireworks show ... a spectacular show.”

Yelling “Allahu Akbar!” -- Arabic for “God is great!” -- Mohamud tried to kick agents and police after he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors.

Oh yeah, they really twisted this kids arm to get him involved in this sting.

The FBI affidavit also explained that agents began investigating Mohamud after receiving a tip from someone that was concerned about him.

The FBI then monitored Mohamud's e-mail and found he was in contact with people overseas, he was inquiring how he could travel to Pakistan and join the fight for jihad.

So, in this case, as with many others, the FBI didn't even get involved until they received a tip. This is how most detectives and law enforcement agencies operate, tips.  Mohamud was looking to fight for jihad before the FBI even knew who he was.

It isn't as if the FBI agents walk up to anyone wearing Muslim garb and say “hey buddy, you want to blow something up in the name of Allah?”

In the most recent case U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement on December 8,

“A Baltimore man has been arrested this morning in connection with a scheme to attack an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland, with what he believed to be vehicle bomb, there was no actual danger to the public as the explosives were inert and the suspect had been carefully monitored by law enforcement for months.”

Antonio Martinez, a Muslim convert who calls himself Muhammed Hussain was arrested in a sting operation as he tried to detonate a phony bomb at an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, just outside Baltimore.

In this case, like Portland, Martinez wanted to commit jihad prior to the FBI getting involved. According to the FBI affidavit,

Martinez stated that “because the military in the United States and other countries were fighting against Muslims, soldiers were legitimate targets.”

Interestingly, Martinez was worried about and even discussed the Portland case with FBI undercover agents after the November 26 arrest of Mohamud in the Oregon case,

Martinez “expressed concern” about the undercover FBI agent to whom he had been introduced by a government informant, the affidavit states. Martinez told the informant that he needed to know “who this brother is. ... I'm not falling for no B.S,” according to the affidavit.

In a report by CNN,

Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney in Baltimore said there was no evidence that Martinez “was acting as a part of any larger group.”

“I think it's significant that there are four civilians who were contacted by the defendant,” he said. “Two of them turned him down, one of them tried to talk him out of it and the third turned him into the FBI.”

So here we have the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore explaining that there were four people that were contacted by Martinez, why then if it is so easy according to those claiming “entrapment” did these 4 others not join their brother in jihad? Instead two wanted nothing to do with it, one tried to talk some sense in to him and the last one ends up being the “tip” and turns him in to the FBI.

There is a huge difference from taking a child and teaching him from age 5 that killing infidels is what is right, as is done with groups such as Hamas, or as in these cases being tipped off to an adult who wants to kill innocent people in the name of Allah, giving them the opportunity and then arresting them.

I am at my wits end with the Muslims being portrayed as the victims here. How did we as a nation go from losing 3000 people in 2001 to Islamic terrorists to looking at someone caught by a sting as the victim? Once again, political correctness will be the death of this country.

This is not profiling nor is our law enforcement “targeting” Muslims. It is Muslims that have committed 16,501 deadly terrorist acts since 9/11.

I don't often find myself agreeing with Attorney General Eric Holder, but in a speech before a Muslim advocacy group near San Francisco, Holder stated on December 11,

“Those who characterize the FBI's activities in this case as “entrapment” simply do not have their facts straight or do not have a full understanding of the law.”

“We have very serious concerns about FBI surveillance tactics that are used. We believe that law enforcement has an important job to protect us as a country but they should do so mindful of the rules of justice and fairness that are at the core of our criminal justice system.”

Well Bravo Mr. A.G. Holder! It's about time you started worrying more about this country’s security rather than the feelings of CAIR and the ACLU.

Our law enforcement have enough problems trying to keep us all safe when their hands are tied from the moment they are sworn in. From not using words such as “terrorist”, “Islamic radical”, “Islamic extremist”, “Muslim”, or worrying about being sued for profiling when just trying to preform their job.

The next time someone tells you that the FBI is using “entrapment” to catch these would-be terrorists you can remind them that if they want to discuss “entrapment”  they should consider the innocent people on 9/11. They were “trapped” in planes and buildings and their only crime was going about their day.


Comments (4)
  • EMA

    :D Well-written article, Gadi! Keep up the good work - we look forward to your web page weekly due to the fact that it is informative and knowledgeable!

  • Lisa

    Now if we can just stop the government from attacking the people, we'll be in business. great article, Gadi. Sharing, as usual.

  • Patrick Dunleavy  - Thanks

    much thanks on your most recent article regarding the issues of entrapment and the use of the sting
    as an effective tool in fighting terrorism. Well said.
    As the former deputy inspector general of the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, I worked as part of an elite team of investigators for more than twenty-six years working in numerous undercover sting operations from infiltrating criminal enterprises, to contract murder conspiracies, public corruption, and narcotics cases. Whenever the bad guys were arrested, they always claimed they've been set up. Self radicalized Islamic extremists are no different. Most juries don't buy it and hopefully the public will not either.
    Wars are fought in many places other than the battlefield. Wars are also fought in the arena of public opinion.
    Best Regards, Patrick Dunleavy

  • AFishman

    good article Gadi. Given our pcorrect ways, this technique unfortunately seems like a good legal way to find muslim terrorists and get them out in the open and to put them away for a long time. How sad that we have to resort to this. It would be a whole lot easier to just make muslim immigrants swear allegiance to the constitution and the laws of the land at the airport on day one. I know muslims are encouraged to lie to get their way so they all will need to be attached to a lie-detector-- and if they flinch or refuse to answer, then they are deported back to their own country. If a muslim US citizen ever gets arrested, then they must submit to this simple questioning too. This would solve a lot of problems right away and would force muslims to understand we do not want Sharia law in this country--if they want it, let them seek another land to live in.

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