Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism

Every year, the U.S. government allocates $3 billion to the FBI to prevent terrorism, more money than it receives to fight organized crime. To justify the expenditures, the Bureau has made a habit of entrapping individuals in sting operations in which paid FBI informants pose as Islamic terrorists: Their modus operandi is to present their mark with an idea for an attack; then they offer to provide the weapons, money, and transportation needed to carry it out. At that point the FBI swoops in and arrests the mark, so it can claim to have prevented a terrorist attack.

This is the important national security story that investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson tells in the forthcoming book “The Terror Factor” (Jan. 2013), which looks back at ten years of terrorism prosecutions since 9/11. “Of the 508 defendants, 243 had been targeted through an FBI informant, 158 had been caught in an FBI terrorism sting, and 49 had encountered an agent provocateur,” writes Aaronson. “Of the 508 cases, I [can] count on one hand the number of actual terrorists — such as failed New York City subway bomber Najibullah Zazi — who posed a direct and immediate threat to the United States.”