Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the attacks of 9/11 have been good for the FBI, the NSA, the CIA, and the entire counter-terrorism industry in the US that have used them to get increased funding and powers. In order to keep those dollars flowing, the FBI has had to repeatedly show success in fighting terrorism and one of the means of doing that is setting up sting operations. If they cannot find real threats, they will create ones.
Trevor Aronson writes about a new satirical film The Day Shall Come based on many of the real-life sting operations conducted by the FBI that recruits hapless people with absurd ideas and then coaxes them to take part in ridiculous plots that are then grandly ‘exposed’ by the agency.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the FBI has used aggressive sting operations to catch would-be terrorists, providing all the weapons needed for supposed attacks and often a good amount of “dial the number, brother” prodding. To date, more than 300 defendants have been prosecuted following FBI terrorism stings.
These stings are often preposterous when examined closely. Derrick Shareef was arrested after buying grenades from an undercover agent; since Shareef didn’t have any money and was living with the government’s informant, the FBI set it up so that the undercover agent, posing as an arms dealer, would accept ratty old stereo speakers as payment. Emanuel L. Lutchman, a mentally ill and broke homeless man, planned to attack a New Year’s Eve celebration with a machete — a weapon he was able to buy only because the FBI gave him $40.
The absurdities go on and on and on. Human Rights Watch criticized these types of FBI stings in a 2014 report for having “created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by conducting sting operations that facilitated or invented the target’s willingness to act.”
That’s the joke underpinning “The Day Shall Come”: Far from being enemies, the FBI has benefited from its biggest bogeymen, developing a symbiotic relationship with Islamist extremists while pursuing hundreds of targets who never posed much of a threat at all.
Here’s the trailer.