August 19, 2004

It's not entrapment, just stupidity!

Does everybody remember the story a few weeks ago about the FBI sting operation that netted a couple of people from Albany (one an Islamic Imam) for trying to launder money that would be made from the sale of a couple of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles? Remember this? There were no missiles, or terrorists. The FBI made the whole story up, and tried to get some people to be involved in the money laundering (not the terrorism). It smelled of entrapment then - the FBI (using an informant who was up on mail fraud charges) went to them to ask about laundering the money.

Nope, not entrapment, just incompetence. It turns out that the FBI may have been going after entirely innocent people. The Albany Times Union reports yesterday that the reason the FBI glommed onto these men was that one of them had been referred to as a "commander" in a journal found in a "terrorist camp" in Iraq.

Those facts, inconveniently, turn out to be wrong. The FBI accepted the Army's translation of the Kurdish "commander." They didn't check it. It turned out to be "brother." Oops. Additionally, the "terrorist camp" was more like a camp for Iraqi insurgents, and had no link to global terrorism. Double Oopsie. Hey, Aref and Hossain, sorry about the whole arrest thing and the press conferences that made you out to be enemies of America. No hard feelings, right?

What's even worse about this is that you would expect the stories that make national headlines to be backed up by better evidence. If this is the standard of investigation for something this big, what is the FBI doing with the everyday stuff? Or not doing. It also makes me want to start drinking before noon.

(Story found through The Light of Reason, part of some new links we put up.)

Posted by baltar at August 19, 2004 10:24 AM | TrackBack | Posted to Politics

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