Some American experts are accusing the FBI of “cooking” an alleged plot to attack Jewish synagogues and military planes in New York by implanting an informant in a mosque to induce people into terror intrigues. “This whole operation was a foolish waste of time and money,” Terence Kindlon, a New York-based lawyer, told.
“It is almost as if the FBI cooked up the plot and found four idiots to install as defendants.”
Police arrested four people last week on charges of plotting to attack two Jewish synagogues and a military base in New York.
The FBI had sent an informant, Shahed Hussain, to the Masjid al-Ikhlas mosque in Newburgh to lure people to talk about jihad.
As Hussain, a former New York state motel owner who became an FBI informant in 2002 to avoid deportation to Pakistan after fraud charges, used to trigger discussions about jihad.
He was accused by some worshippers of being a government agent.
“Anyone with any smarts knew to stay away from Hussain,” notes Salahuddin Mustafa Muhammad, the imam of Masjid al-Ikhlas mosque.
Hussain later met James Cromitie, described by authorities as the ringleader of the plot, and together hatched up the attack plan.
He provided the group with bogus C4 explosive and a fake Stinger missile and launcher supplied by the FBI.
Many experts took issue with the FBI’s reliance on undercover informants known as confidential witnesses (CWs) who lure people into far-fetched plots that are then foiled by the agents monitoring them.
“One question that has to be answered is: did the informant go in and enlist people who were otherwise not considering trouble?” asked Kevin Luibrand, a lawyer who represented a Muslim businessman caught up in an FBI sting three years ago.
“Did the government induce someone to commit a crime?”
Many believe the suspects, three petty criminals and a mentally ill Haitian immigrant, none of whom had any connection with any known terrorist group, were an easy catch for the authorities.
“They were all unsophisticated dimwits,” contends Kindlon, the New York-based lawyer.
Cromitie is a 44-year-old ex-convict and so are David Williams, 28, and Onta Williams, 32.
The fourth suspect is Laguerre Payen, 27, a Haitian former Catholic and paranoid schizophrenic.
Kindlon also questioned the high-profile arrest which involved heavily armed SWAT teams who were watching as the suspect planted the dud bombs outside the two synagogues before hauling them away in handcuffs.
“Did they really need all those men in ninja suits with M16 rifles to arrest four idiots?”
Flanked by more than 100 homeland security and counter-terrorist specialists, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the police officers and federal agents who helped disrupt a plot “that would make the country gasp.”
State Governor David Paterson described the alleged plot as “a heinous crime”.
But Kindlon, a former marine sergeant, finds that laughable and fears that domestic US agencies focus on fantasists as opposed to real terrorists.
“Somewhere, someone in Al-Qaeda must be laughing.”