The Sad Sack Four - Terrorist Masterminds, Or Losers?
There really is a fine line between terrorists and wayward stoners goaded by an informant into hashing out criminal plots. There's a disturbing level of what I would consider entrapment in a lot of these terrorist busts. These guys in NYC who were busted for plotting to blow up synagogues don't seem like model citizens, but they were amateurs, schizophrenics and stoners and at some point, you have to ask yourself why we are putting so much effort into getting low-lifes like this to put together plots they aren't equipped to carry out, for the expressed purpose of arresting them for those plots.
Obviously these four wanted to commit these acts, and by all accounts the informant's actions were legal. But I agree with Moe Tkacik at TPMM:
It's easy to laugh at this gang of goons -- and we've done our share of that. But, frankly, it's also hard not to feel some compassion for what looks like a group of struggling, credulous, under-educated men, existing on the fringes of society, who lacked the intelligence or willpower to avoid getting taken in by a government informant anxious to mitigate his own situation, and by their own vague understanding of radical Islam and the hole it might fill in their lives.
And as for what this might say about the threat of home-grown terror, it's almost reassuring that the biggest terror bust we've seen in a while has this sad-sack group at his center.
You cannot take this stuff for granted, but at what point to we draw the line on how much an informant can lead?