Paid FBI informant took active role in planning massacre


Richard Moore

Original source URL:,0,1450154.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines

From the Baltimore Sun
Entrapment issue raised in alleged Fort Dix terror plot
Paid FBI informant took active role in planning massacre

Associated Press

May 11, 2007

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- He railed against the United States, helped scout out 
military installations for attack, offered to introduce his comrades to an arms 
dealer, and gave them a list of weapons he could procure, including machine guns
and rocket-propelled grenades.

These were the actions not of a terrorist but of a paid FBI informant who helped
bring down an alleged plot by six men to massacre U.S. soldiers at New Jersey's 
Fort Dix.

And those actions have raised questions of whether the government crossed the 
line and pushed the six Muslim men down a path they would not have otherwise 

It is an argument -- entrapment -- that has been made in other terrorism cases, 
and one that has failed miserably in this post-Sept. 11 era.

One defense attorney on the case, Troy Archie, said no decision has been made on
whether to argue entrapment, but based on the FBI's own account, "the guys sort 
of led them on."

Rocco Cipparone, a lawyer for another of the defendants, said he will take a 
hard look at "the role of paid informants and how aggressive they were in 
potentially prodding or moving things along."

The Fort Dix Six were arrested this week after a 15-month FBI investigation that
relied heavily on two paid informants who secretly recorded meetings and 
telephone conversations in which the suspects talked of killing "in the name of 

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie defended the government's handling of the 
case. He and the FBI portrayed the defendants as Muslim fanatics who were nearly
ready to strike. They were arrested Monday night during what the FBI said was an
attempt to buy AK-47 machine guns, M-16s and other weapons.

Former FBI agent Kevin Barrows said prosecutors appeared to have done things 

"They corroborated with surveillance, and they had a gun buy set up," Barrows 
said. "That further solidified the case, as opposed to it just being a tape of 
somebody saying, 'Yeah, I want to buy guns.' They worked this for a long time 
and the evidence seems really, really solid."

Prosecutors portrayed the six men -- Serdar Tatar, 23; Agron Abdullahu, 24; 
Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22; Dritan "Anthony" or "Tony" Duka, 28; Shain Duka, 
26; and Eljvir "Elvis" Duka, 23 -- as driven by hatred of America, a description
disputed by relatives and acquaintances.

"I never in my wildest dreams imagined what they've been accused of," said 
Ismail Badat, trustee of the Islamic Center of South Jersey in Palmyra, where 
the Duka brothers worshiped.

The same documents that prosecutors used to build a case against the suspects 
also depict them as somewhat disorganized, lackluster plotters. And clumsy: The 
FBI learned of the alleged plot when the men went to a Circuit City store and 
asked a clerk to transfer a jihad training video of themselves onto a DVD. Also,
they mistakenly thought an AK-47 costs $500, instead of $1,500 to $3,000.

Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials entice others into a crime they
otherwise would not have committed. Under the law, people cannot be convicted if
they were entrapped.

Copyright © 2007, The Baltimore Sun

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