FBI informant promoted terrorism at mosque


Barrett Brown

I am the founder of the distributed think-tank Project PM and a regular inactive to Vanity Fair and Skeptical Inquirer. My work has also appeared in The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press, D Magazine, Skeptic, McSweeney's, American Atheist, and a couple of newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few policy journals. I'm the author of two books and serve as a consultant to various political entities and private clients.

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar Ken says:

    Just like we can get captured by love for our spouses, or kids, and refuse to believe they are in the wrong, agents can get captured by support for their informants. The sentiment is not love, but pride (they found the guy and built him up), friendship (some informants are charming; many are sociopaths), ambition (successfully running informants means success), etc.

    Back when I was a fed, on a number of occasions I had a very difficult time convincing an FBI or DEA agent that an informant was obviously not credible. The agents get captured by the process.Report

    • Avatar Barrett Brown says:

      Thanks for weighing in. I’m interested in the concept of powerful and authoritative entities like the FBI and CIA and the unusual culture that tends to develop within such bodies. Have you ever read “The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence” by that former CIA official? Or do you have any further insight into the issue that you’d be willing to give us? I’d love to ask you a few questions for another post.Report

  2. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    The Button Defense.

    Actually, I’m sort of with you here, Barrett. Although not exactly completely.Report

    • Avatar Barrett Brown says:

      Well good, I’m glad that we can find common ground on some question of jurisprudence – and I mean that, as I really want more conservatives to understand that there are a great deal of things they can agree on and pursue alongside non-conservatives in terms of such things as civil liberties. I’ll add that I don’t disapprove of similar programs so long as the agents/informants do not prompt residents of the U.S. to carry out what they have been told are terrorist attacks or themselves engage in false flag language of the sort we see on the most recent occasion, and especially not within a private religious entity.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke says:

        Ah, do treat yourself and vidy the video, me droogie. After dimly remembering it and linking it based on your post, I just watched it twice. One could write a book on it. It’s fucking Shakespeare.

        It’s from the 1960s, I know. But we must observe the classics, lest we spend most of our time reinventing the wheel.

        It really is full of pith and vinegar, Barrett. I wouldn’t waste yr time, nor that of our gentle readers. The Button Defense is both absurdity and reality, which completely describes our current crisis.Report

        • Avatar Barrett Brown says:

          I’m not going to lie to you. I watched five of that clip, being enchanted by anything recorded in the mid-2oth century, but I kind of got hung up on how strange it is to see dialog that does so little over such a stretch of time. Obviously there was not anything wrong with that level of complexity and accomplishment in terms of what characters say and what it accomplishes in terms of story, but it’s hard for me to spend time watching something that we’ve since built upon unless it has some particular significance, in which I watch it over and over again. If there’s something in particular that happens later on which I should see, let me know and I’ll definitely give it another try.Report

      • Avatar Heidegger says:

        Hi Barrett—have a great book to recommend to you–“The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg”. You’ll love it and certainly get a good look and taste of the inside CIA/espionage culture. Actually, Berg was in the OSS which later became the CIA. A very fascinating look at a most bizarre and brilliant man, Moe Berg. And yes, he really was a catcher for the Red Sox as well as a few other teams–also, a linguistic genius–spoke 12 languages or so—his German was so good he was sent on a mission to assassinate Heisenberg—an excellent read. Sadly, I think he died a penniless vagrant.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger says:

          Barrett, obviously, the “mission” was aborted. Don’t want to give anymore away.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Sadly, the only time he knew where Heisenberg was was when he had no idea how fast he was going…Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Yeah, it was the obvious joke.

              Wanna make something of it?Report

              • Avatar Heidegger says:

                Heh Heh–good one Jaybird. That was the first quantum joke I’ve heard. Did you just make it up?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Nah, I used to hang in a group of people who would say stuff like “where the hell is Jay?” and the answer would come “I don’t know but he’s going *THIS* fast.”

                That sort of thing.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger says:

                Jaybird, considering it was Heisenberg who was Berg’s “target”, could we be inhabitng the universe that aborted the mission while at the same time, there exists a quantum universe where he was, in fact, assassinated? Can there really be a myriad of possible molecular quantum outcomes at every moment? I’m really having a difficult time understanding quantum mechanics-any good books you’d recommend to a novice? And Bell’s Theorem has me banging my head into walls.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Nah. This is this, dude.

                This is this.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger says:

                Obviously, it’s totally irrelevant whether it was Heisenberg or anyone else–just a fun name, sorta like Schrödinger.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger says:

                Jaybird—Do you do realize you just said a very famous line from a movie? The Deer Hunter—Robert di Niro–the hunting scene–“This is this”—hey, this is quantum mechanics in action! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4onhv63jom8Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Is Schrodinger still alive?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Heidegger, I have so much detritus in my head… I will say that if you asked me who said that, I would have said one of the Taoist/Buddhist fathers.

                But now that you mention it, yes. It was from The Deer Hunter, wasn’t it?Report

              • Avatar Heidegger says:

                No James–he croaked a while ago. But his cat, the famous quantum cat, aka “Schrödinger’s cat”, lives forever and ever and ever in a proven mathematically quantum parallel universe. Beats nine lives, I guess. Try to imagine being dead AND alive at the same moment. I’m far too absent-minded as it is.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Are you sure that Schrodinger’s dead? The last I heard he was actually in a type of box, and you know what that means.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger says:

                Jaybird. This is this. A perfect reply to my question. And I have absolutely no idea why I even remembered it. Certainly sounds more Buddhist than Russian Orthodox (I think that was the religion of the Deer Hunter characters). It was quite inexplicable in the context it was used, as well. Damn, gotta run. I promise to post no more than one comment a day–at most!Report

              • Avatar James K says:

                Yes, and no.Report

  3. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    Barrett, thx for giving it 5 min. That was cool, sporting and with good cheer.

    The punchline is that he pushes the button, gets rid of his bitch wife and nobody will know. That was the relevance to the whole thing. Monteilh pushed the button; the FBI—Jack Lemmon—tempted him into it, no doubt.

    BTW, Jack Lemmon didn’t murder his wife, as he admitted he did there. She was Virna Lisi, fer crissakes. Woof.


  4. Monteigh probably just went way overboard. He was supposed to put out feelers and got carried with, probably out of desperation to find somebody he could snitch on when no one was immediately forthcoming. It almost reads like something out of a Coen Bros movie.

    This guy in Oregon though was a different story. He apparently had a history of making provocative statements. He even did a class lecture on how to build a bomb. He had expressed frustration at not being able to leave the country to partake in jihad. I think his own father might have been one of the people who reported him. I’m not sure how true all this is, but it will come out eventually.Report

  5. Avatar Boonton says:

    This stuff would be good to note next time yahoos assert that American Muslims are supposed to ‘do more’ to oppose terrorism. Here we see them kicking out Mosque members who talk about jihad, even reporting their own sons and in return they get the right trying to deny them freedom of religion, agitating for mass deportations, and so on.Report