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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

FBI Terror Stings and the Entrapment Defense

Dec 2nd, 2010 defenses

In an article entitled "A Defense that Could be Obsolete," published yesterday, December 1, 2010, the New York Times reports on law enforcement tactics in suspected terrorism stings and attempts by defendants to raise the entrapment defense. 

Karen Greenberg, executive director of the Center of Law and Security at the N.Y.U. School of Law, is quoted, concerning the Newburgh Four, a group of black American Muslim converts who had been arrested for plotting to blow up two synagogues in the Bronx:

“The government hired a Pakistani who basically found an African-American, and through him, three other African-Americans, have-nots, at least one of them off the grid almost, and the government took what was anti-Semitism that manifested itself in this case — and there was certainly a lot of very nasty anti-Semitism — and turned it into jihad. That to me is a certain type of entrapment.” 

The Times reports generally:

"The law itself is fairly clear on this subject, though also subject to interpretation, as Mr. Dunn explained in an article in the New York Law Journal last year. Since 1932, when the Supreme Court first allowed an entrapment defense — involving a bootleg liquor charge against one C.V. Sorrells in Prohibition-era North Carolina — it has been well established that law enforcement agents can “afford opportunities and or facilities” to people of criminal intent.

But the question, as the Supreme Court put it, was whether “the criminal design originates with the officials of the government, and they implant in the mind of an innocent person the disposition to commit the alleged offense and induce its commission in order that they may prosecute.”

Concerning the recent arrest of Mohamud, Greenberg is quoted regarding the standard she believes needs to apply to terrorism-related entrapment cases:

“Were the defendants part of a larger network prior to the sting operation, or did the F.B.I. connect the individual, through them, to a wider terrorist network or group?”

For the full text of the Times article, click here

For more information on entrapment, see the following link:

Not Entrapment, Not a Foiled Plot (AEI’s The Enterprise blog)

Two Different Views of Alleged Would-Be Bomber (NPR)

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