New York Times already beginning its campaign to undermine the prosecution of the "Fort Dix Six", claiming entrapment. Instead of praising the investigation, they are taking shots at law enforcement techniques.
The Role of an F.B.I. Informer Draws Praise as Well as Questions About Legitimacy
By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI
Published: May 10, 2007
It was August 2006 when one of the young Muslim men accused of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix first broached the idea, according to the authorities. Talking to an informer who was secretly taping the exchange, the young man said that he thought he could round up six or seven other men willing to take part, and that a rocket-propelled grenade might be the most effective weapon, the authorities said.
And he had one more notion: He wanted the informer to lead the attack, according to a federal complaint. “I am at your services,” the young man is quoted as telling the informer, who had presented himself as an Egyptian with a military background.
That moment, recorded on tape and submitted in federal court this week in Camden, N.J., as the authorities charged six Muslim men in the plot, captures something of the complexity of using informers in terror investigations. The informer, sent to penetrate a loose group of men who liked to talk about jihad and fire guns in the woods, had come to be seen by the suspects as the person who might actually show them how an act of terror could be carried off.
Indeed, over the months that followed, as the targets of the investigation spoke with a sometimes unfocused zeal about waging holy war, the informer, one of two used in the investigation, would tell them that he could get them the sophisticated weapons they wanted. He would accompany them on surveillance missions to military installations, debating the risks, and when the men looked ready to purchase the weapons, it was the informer who seemed to be pushing the idea of buying the deadliest items, startling at least one of the suspects.
Since 9/11, law enforcement officials have praised the work of such informers, saying they have been doing exactly what they should be doing — gaining access to the world of a possible threat, playing along to see just how far suspects were willing to go, and allowing the authorities to act before the potential terrorists did.
In the case of the men arrested this week, the authorities have been emphatic: The men were prepared to kill, and to die in the effort, and the informer was vital to preventing any loss of life.
“Their intentions and motivation were obviously well established before the investigation began,” said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the United States attorney in New Jersey, Christopher J. Christie, who announced the arrests of the men on Tuesday.
The authorities made the arrests and ended the operation, officials said, because the men were at last ready to acquire the weapons they had sought.
As the case goes forward, the role of the main informer will almost surely be contested. Over the years, informers in terror cases have become the focus of efforts by defense lawyers and others to call into question the legitimacy of the investigations. They have often sought to show that informers engaged in entrapment.
“The police are allowed to use some enticement in cases,” said Troy Archie, a lawyer for one of the six men charged, Dritan Duka. “But it depends how far they go.”
Full article http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/10/ny...1&ref=nyregion