The Feds Now Complaining about Thin Terrorist Indictments

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’ve got a long undercover investigation of a young Muslim man. It ends in the man acting to get what turns out to be an inert bomb. And there seem to be problems with the undercover work in the investigation.

It sounds like the case of Mohamed Mohamud, right?

Well, in many respects it is just like the case of Mohamed Mohamud. Except, unlike the Mohamud investigation, the FBI suggests this one–of Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh for allegedly conspiring to target synagogues–is flimsy.

WNYC has learned the lack of Federal participation in the high-profile case of two Queens men allegedly involved in a plot to blow up New York City synagogues and churches was related to concerns it was not a bona fide terrorism case.

Two Federal law enforcement sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said the FBI did not take the case of the two alleged Queens terrorists because the undercover operation was problematic and the end result was being over-hyped. They also expressed concern the case would ultimately not hold up in court as terrorism case. “Should guys that want to buy guns be off the street, absolutely,” one of the Federal officials said.


At the press conference announcing the arrests of Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh, local officials said the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force had the right of first refusal on all terrorism cases, but had opted out of this one. Officials characterized the case as one involving a “pair of lone wolves” who were not part of a broader global terrorism conspiracy.

This is the same FBI that tried to hide its first contacts with an accused attempted bomber, set up all the details of his alleged plot, and made darn sure he never had a real bomb. In other words, the FBI that insists its Mohamud indictment is completely legitimate. But I guess when you’re in a pissing match with the NYPD, standards for serious investigations or not suddenly change?

  1. lsls says:

    All this “two Islam” Imams…lone wolves….fill in the blank..blah, blah, blah…most likely is to soften up public opinion..shiny further demonize Muslims.

    They are settin’ us up for further action in the ME. No wonder they wanted Mueller’s time extended. He’s always worked with the administrations..though he tried to distance himself from the CIA’s actions at one point. I believe they actually are somehow connected at the hip at the top. JMHO

  2. eCAHNomics says:

    I don’t know what they’re worried about. Just like you can get an indictment out of a grand jury for a ham sandwich, the pubic is now so scared to terrorism that you could get a jury to convict a ham sandwich if you call it terrorism.

    Furthermore, most of the cases never went before a jury but brought about convictions via plea “agreements” as the heavy weight of USG bore down on a few hapless helpless souls.

  3. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Why are the Feds bothering so much with well creating terrorists like Mohamed Mohamud and then setting them up when they could go after the lone nut jobs like that guy in AZ? … Oh wait Muslims get headlines.

    • felicity says:

      Muslims do get the headlines even though the majority of confirmed terrorist attacks in this country were perpetrated by non-Muslims. Hell, binLaden himself killed far more Muslims than non-Muslims. Do we suppose he was actually on our side?

  4. ThingsComeUndone says:

    WNYC has learned the lack of Federal participation in the high-profile case of two Queens men allegedly involved in a plot to blow up New York City synagogues

    Next theory its better to let some terror proceed to scare Jewish voters in NY to vote Right?

  5. timr says:

    I am not surprised at anything the Fumbling Bunch of Idiots do. They were totally worthless during my entire career in the FedGov(I never worked for the FBI, but unfortunately had some interactions with them), that they remain so is not surprising.

    Because they depend on “informants” to make cases they are oh so easily duped by crooks.

    Remember Boston!

    The F B I is beyond help or hope. BTW, they take all the credit for catching bank robbers, THAT THE LOCAL COPS ALREADY CAUGHT.
    Same old same old.
    A good book about the F B I is called NO LEFT TURNS. It is a very good book. Puts J Edgar right where he belongs

    • marcusreno says:

      Do you know the difference between the Boy Scouts and the FBI? The Boy Scouts have adult supervision. There is nothing quite so frightening as watching ignorance in action (and their reputation with the public keeps going up)-Goethe

  6. Jeff Kaye says:

    This is the same FBI that tried to hide its first contacts with an accused attempted bomber, set up all the details of his alleged plot, and made darn sure he never had a real bomb.

    Gad, I thought for a second you were talking about the first World Trade Center bombing, because that’s near exactly what happened, when the FBI’s own informant was pulled from switching the bomb to something inert. They pulled Emad Salem from the sting and let the bomb go off in 1993, as reported by the New York Times, and others.

    From the NYT:

    Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.

    The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.

    The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City’s tallest towers.

    Salem made his own tapes when he grew suspicious he might be fingered for some terrorist plot after he realized the FBI could not be trusted, and that they had failed seemingly on purpose to stop the WTC bombing. Salem’s FBI handler, backed him on this.

    Moreover, according to tapes released by Salem, he was in fact the insider meant to build the bomb:

    Salem: Yeah, I mean because the lady was being honest and I was being honest and everything was submitted with a receipt and now it’s questionable.

    [FBI agent John] Anticev: It’s not questionable, it’s like a little out of the ordinary.

    Salem: Okay. Alright. I don’t think it was. If that’s what you think guys, fine, but I don’t think that because we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the D.A. and we was all informed about it and we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful, great case!

    Anticev: Well.

    Salem: And then he put his head in the sand and said “Oh, no, no, that’s not true, he is son of a bitch.” [Deep breath.] Okay. It’s built with a different way in another place and that’s it.

    Anticev: No, don’t make any rash decisions. I’m just trying to be as honest with you as I can.

    Salem: Of course, I appreciate that.

    Here’s the audio portion of the above conversation.

    Of course, Salem himself is now in witness protection, or somewhere he can’t be touched, or testify.

    This was all a good deal in the news in 1993, and covered not only by so-called conspiracy groups (the NYT story above was not the only one at the Gray Lady on this issue). All forgotten today. Or rather unreported or not referenced.

  7. Arbusto says:

    Raymond Kelly, NYPD Commissioner, a perfect fit to replace Mueller at the Keystone Cops, aka FBI.

  8. rugger9 says:

    How is that not entrapment, since it seems that every concrete step was suggested and facilitated by the FBI?

    Slightly OT, but last week Hartmann had a wingnut on his show, and of course brought up the actual terrorism activity of the Reich-wing, and the winger kept talking about how all of these are lone wolves, no connection, nobody here but us chickens. “Muslim” is the new fashion for the “only good one is a dead one” first described by Phil Sheridan regarding the Native Americans. I wonder who would be next.

    This is why Bushie kowtowing to OBL needs to be out in the news, loudly.