I agree with Robert Spencer, Federal Reserve bomb plot investigation not entrapment

I agree with Robert Spencer, Federal Reserve bomb plot investigation not entrapment

by Sheila Musaji


I never thought that the words “I agree with Robert Spencer” would come out of my mouth.  And, yet, his most recent article What Would It Take For You To Go On Jihad?  makes an excellent point

In that article he discusses of “entrapment”, where law enforcement officials have been part of fake plots to lure in individuals who might be considering violent acts.

He gives the examples of Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis who was arrested this past week after trying to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb in front of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City.

I disagree with Spencer’s focus only on Muslim criminals, and with his (and the Muslim extremists) false description of such criminal, terrorist acts as “jihad”.

And now comes the part where I have to say “I agree with Robert Spencer”.  Spencer says:

Think about it: what would it take to lead you to participate in a terrorist mass-murder plot? If undercover agents approached you and tried to entice you into working to kill large numbers of innocent people, how hard would it be to convince you to do it?
Speaking strictly for myself, I have absolutely no worries of ever being entrapped in this way; there is simply nothing, under any circumstances, that anyone could say to me to convince me to blow anyone up. And so if someone showed up and started trying to cajole me into doing so, I would find him irritating, but I wouldn’t even come close to doing anything that would enable anyone to portray me as guilty of anything. Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis ...  in contrast, went ahead with their jihad mass-murder plots. Law enforcement agents were not to blame and cannot justly be held accountable for their choices.

From the point of view of an American Muslim, I agree with this statement completely regarding this particular case. 

The Online Law Dictionary defines entrapment as: The act of government agents or officials that induces a person to commit a crime he or she is not previously disposed to commit.

The discussion of what is or is not entrapment under that simple definition includes this:

Generally, the defense is not available if the officer merely created an opportunity for the commission of the crime by a person already planning or willing to commit it.

...  Most states require a defendant who raises the defense of entrapment to prove he or she did not have a previous intent to commit the crime. Courts determine whether a defendant had a predisposition to commit a crime by examining the person’s behavior prior to the commission of the crime and by inquiring into the person’s past criminal record if one exists. Usually, a predisposition is found if a defendant was previously involved in criminal conduct similar to the crime with which he or she is charged.

When an officer supplies an accused with a tool or a means necessary to commit the crime, the defense is not automatically established. Although this factor may be considered as evidence of entrapment, it is not conclusive. The more important determination is whether the official planted the criminal idea in the mind of the accused or whether the idea was already there.

Entrapment is not a constitutionally required defense, and, consequently, not all states are bound to provide it as a defense in their criminal codes. Some states have excluded it as a defense, reasoning that anyone who can be talked into a criminal act cannot be free from guilt.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis said that he wanted to carry out this act “for the Muslims,” to “make us one step closer to run the whole world.”  He is reported to have said that he had come to America from Bangladesh on a student visa, specifically to carry out an attack.  He boasted he wanted to “destroy America” and professed admiration for “our beloved Sheikh Osama Bin Laden,” federal authorities said.  Also, according to Federal authorities: “While en route to his target, Nafis bragged to his accomplice — the FBI informant — that he had devised a “Plan B” to conduct a suicide bombing operation if cops thwarted his diabolical Federal Reserve attack. ... On the ride in, Nafis also revealed his jihadist views were shaped, in part, by the videotaped sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Yemeni imam and top Al Qaeda recruiter killed by a U.S. drone attack.”

It is also reported that when Nafis came to the U.S.

The suspected would-be terrorist soon attempted to put together what the FBI says was meant to be a terror cell.

Local reports suggest that he did this by attempting to recruit people online. This is when the ploy is said to have fallen apart. Unwittingly, Nafis is said to have come into contact with an FBI source in July. Among other things, he is said to told this source that he admired the magazine “starting with ‘I’”, which was understood by the source to mean the al-Qaeda linked publication Inspire. Next he was put in touch with an undercover agent posing as an “al-Qaeda facilitator”, who, after an alleged request from the accused, supplied him with the dud explosives.

“The defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack… and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan,” Loretta Lynch, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said as the plot came to light.

If these allegations are true, then, clearly this individual already had an intention to carry out some sort of attack, and his online activities brought him to the attention of the authorities.  In this case, an entrapment defense would not apply.  There may be cases that actually constitute entrapment, but this does not seem to be one of them.  The Bangladeshi community in America also seems to be taking that position very clearly.  And, the Government of Bangladesh says that they are investigating whether Nafis had connections with radical groups in Bangladesh.

Members of the Bangladeshi community come together in

    Photo credit: Nancy Borowick |    Members of the Bangladeshi community come together in Jackson Heights, Queens on Sunday in a silent rally in the wake of the arrest of student Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, charged with conspiracy to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City. (Oct. 21, 2012)  Source: Newsday 


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