FBI did it again. Undercover agents persuaded a mentally challenged Sunni muslim from Morocco, to carry out a suicide bombing of the U.S. Capitol. Fox News is already wetting itself over this and drawing possible ties to Iran. Megan Kelly is proving her vacuous mental capabilities right now on air. She warns in ominous tones, “This is the first suicide vest attempt in the U.S.”

It is inane remarks like that inciting me to pull out every hair on my head. For starters, this plot originated here with the FBI. It did not start overseas. The FBI spied a guy espousing radical views and baited the hook. The Moroccan moron took the bait. But don’t kid yourself that the guy arrested was some malevolent, evil terrorist genius hiding in our midst.


He did not have enough training or knowledge to realize that he was putting on a dud vest incapable of exploding. I’m not criticizing the FBI for this. They did their job and proactively weeded out a religious nut willing to inflict violence if given the right tools. But we also should not go to the opposite extreme of assuming we are facing a mounting assault from overseas by fanatical muslims intent on attacking us.

But why let facts get in the way. It is better to scare the hell out of Americans and persuade them that they should surrender civil liberties just so they can sit safely at home and watch the cable news programs.

UPDATE–You can (and should) read the complaint here. The complaint is revealing. A local undercover law enforcement officer from the Washington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force (WOJTTF) alerted the FBI in January 2011 that Amine El Khalifi had popped up on the local scene and was talking aggressively about attacking the United States for its “war on Muslims.” During the next 11 months the FBI thru the WOJTTF kept tabs on Khalifi. They almost certainly got FISA permission for wiretaps and video surveillance.

By December 2011, the FBI was ready to see if El Khalifi was ready to strap on his jihad. He was driven to Baltimore by “Hussien” (who I believe is the local Alexandria undercover cop who first flagged Khalifi) and introduced to an AL QAEDA OPERATIVE–Mr. Yusuf. Of course, Yusuf was an undercover FBI agent. With Hussien and Yusuf’s help, Khalifi was encouraged to get his jihad on and he gladly offered up a variety of harebrained schemes. It was Hussien who gave Khalifi an explosive that could be used in an attack. Basically, Khalifi was given enough rope to hang himself and others. You can be sure that the WOJTTF, under FBI supervision, was tracking all of Khalifi’s contacts, both here and abroad. Those who collaborated in any way will also be arrested or taken into custody overseas.

A great op by the JTTF. FBI, true to form, is taking the credit. But I have no doubt that someone in the Alexandria Police Department played a critical role as well in helping make this case. That’s how I read the criminal complaint.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.