Thursday, August 23, 2012

Federal infiltration and tinkering behind the scenes

It appears the federal government may have a history going way back of being involved in building up threats that it then uses to win public support as it works to take them down.

From the Center for Investigative Journalism:
The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.
Questions over an informant's role remain today. How often do federal informants become the manipulator of those they're supposed to be informing on, sometimes being the catalyst for what might not have been otherwise.

Just yesterday we may have seen one more recent example. Two old geezers, ages 68 and 73, got five years in prison for a violent plot to attack federal targets. But were they really a threat? Or just old braggarts who let boasting over grits and coffee at a Waffle House get stoked into something more at the urging of a federal informant?

A federal informant with a dubious past apparently also played a major role in the reported plot to bomb a Cleveland bridge earlier this year. In that case, the other alleged conspirators were members of the local Occupy movement.

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