This Gives Me a Creeping Feeling That the FBI is Flat-Out Lying

July 23, the FBI’s director du jour Christopher Wray said that, so far, in 2019, they had arrested over 100 suspects in domestic terrorism cases, and most of them were white supremacy-related.

Those comments were quoted many places [for instance] and many of us may have heaved an audible sigh of relief:

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told lawmakers Tuesday that the bureau has recorded about 100 arrests of domestic terrorism suspects in the past nine months and that most investigations of that kind involve some form of white supremacy – though an FBI spokeswoman later clarified the percentage is smaller.

Uh-oh, did the FBI let Donald Trump draft that comment? Because, apparently, another FBI spokesperson had to step up and correct the boss. And, they corrected it with some disappointingly vague information: what does “smaller” mean? “Most” is already vague and might mean anything from 50% to 100%. “Smaller” than “most” might mean anything from 0% to 49%. What if the FBI director was just saying something Trumpishly pulled out of a hat? What if the actual number is 0 and 0%?

Come to think of it, isn’t it suspiciously provocative (or provocatively suspicious?) that the FBI doesn’t publish actual statistics about its work? Specifically, I would like to see a breakdown of how many of their cases depend on an agent provocateur or confidential informant, rather than breaking a cold case or a conspiracy. I was closely watching this topic just after 9/11, when the FBI started leaking case information about islamic plots to sneak Pakistani jihadis in through Canada (turned out not to be true) and arrested jihadis in New Jersey that apparently lived in a halal grocery store and had talked to an FBI confidential informant who lured them into saying that they were interested in planning a terror attack. Then, there was a whole raft of stories like this: [cnn]

A 22-year-old New York City man, Ashiqul Alam, was charged Friday after buy two Glock 9mm pistols with their serial numbers removed, and talking about using a suicide explosive vest in Times Square, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Some gomer made the mistake of talking to someone radical-sounding on Facebook, and as soon as they actually stepped away from their keyboard to go buy a gun, they were grabbed by the FBI. Well, it’s sort of legit – the guy was a sucker who got way too out of his depth. When the FBI are able to determine that the suspect is actually willing to take the first steps to commit a crime, I suppose they’ve nabbed them fair and square. But have they really done anything about terrorism? It seems to me like they created a terrorist then caught them – neat as shooting fish in a barrel. +1 terrorist, -1 terrorist, they did nothing except reduce the number of people who take Facebook too seriously.

The FBI has a sad history of such things blowing up in their faces, such as when they tried to bait Randy Weaver (a militia member/white supremacist/gun nut) into selling them an illegal sawed-off shotgun, and then tried to arrest him, triggering a disastrous shoot-out. In retrospect their approach to Weaver was absurd: they offered him thousands of dollars to saw off a gun barrel with a hacksaw. Apparently, Weaver asked the FBI agent why he didn’t do it himself; it was a dead giveaway. That operation ended with an FBI sniper shooting an unarmed woman and a 14 year-old boy. What most Americans don’t know about the battle at Ruby Ridge is that the government was sued for damages, the Weavers winning $3.1 million, which the government slow-walked and re-litigated down to $300,000 which they finally paid 8 years later. The FBI’s probably pretty smart to stick to trolling for jihadis on Facebook, all things considered.

Unfortunately, the FBI appears to have been lying when they said they were on the job regarding white supremacists. The folks at Pro Publica started trying to map the 100 cases number to the FBI’s actual prosecutions and – came up with zero. They asked the FBI to clarify and got responses that can only be described as vague and deflective. The Washington Post describes the FBI’s statement in a positive light:

The figure, which Wray conceded was imprecise, is similar to the number of arrests made in international terrorism cases and represents an uptick compared with the prior year. He revealed the data at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, seeking to assure lawmakers that the bureau was aggressively pursuing cases of racially motivated violence.

“Needless to say, we take domestic terrorism or hate crime, regardless of ideology, extremely seriously,” Wray said.

This is the FBI director, talking to the senate judiciary committee, making an “imprecise” claim. Out here in rural Pennsylvania, we call that shit “lying.” Pro Publica describes the situation guardedly; they appear to be holding off on saying the FBI is lying until the FBI has exhausted every possible opportunity to cite the cases that the director was referring to. [The full article at Pro Publica is really interesting]

On July 23, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that federal investigations of domestic terrorism had led to some 100 arrests in the last nine months. While the FBI quickly announced that the number was 90, not 100, the basic message appeared unchanged: The FBI was actively investigating and prosecuting domestic terrorists.

The 90 arrests have been cited countless times since last weekend’s killing of 22 people in El Paso, Texas, by a man suspected of harboring racist views of immigrants. To find out more, we contacted the FBI on Monday, asking who had been arrested, as well as where and when, and what the allegations were in each case.

Four days later, we have been given next to no information about them.

Our first inquiry on Monday was straightforward: We asked for basic information about each of the 90 arrests, which we assumed had all been publicly announced.

An FBI spokeswoman wrote back: “We would not be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of these press releases. As there is no federal domestic terrorism statute so DT subjects are charged under other federal, state, and local charges.”

We are supposed to believe that the FBI has no idea what kinds of arrests they have been doing; they simply don’t organize and track them? This is the FBI – which is pretty effectively able to organize its attempts to penetrate Antifa, and which has documented (but not published) its ongoing monitoring of NODAPL protesters – they just sort of forgot to keep a spreadsheet with all the cases related to domestic terrorism?

By the way, that stuff about domestic terrorism not being something that they track: they sure as hell have no problem tracking it when they lure muslims on Facebook.

Maybe they’re not tracking domestic terrorism as such because they’re not actually prosecuting anywhere near as many cases as the director said. I’m sure we’ll learn more eventually.

My bet is that we’ll learn the FBI was bullshitting; if they’re tracking domestic terrorism it’s probably because they’ve decided Antifa are terrorists and are busy trying to get agents in place to rig arrest-traps.


  1. says

    I wondered about that, too. If they can say how many cases there are, then surely they can give a list as well. Otherwise, how did they count them? So, either they’re lying about the number or they’re lying about the list.

  2. Ridana says

    They’ve been doing this sort of thing for so long, you’d think they’d get better at it, but no, it sounds like the same old, same old, create-a-terrorist protocol.

    This is a good, if lengthy article about how it works, from 2006. Some more examples (up to 2010).

    In the 2006 case, the FBI informant paid to rent the cabin that would serve as the group’s hideout and lab, provided the instructions for making explosives, and did her best to encourage the crew to get serious about picking targets and to “stick to a list,” and whenever they started getting cold feet or just bored with the idea, she would harangue them about not caring about the cause and urge them to continue until they were on board again. I have no doubt that many of the current arrests are of this variety, whether it’s jihadis or militiamen being set up.

    On a side note, I thought Yap-stupid had cut funding for tracking domestic terrorists of the white supremacist persuasion?

  3. says

    There was a fascinating podcast episode where they interviewed a deplorable who was part if the Bundy movement. The FBI set him up with a fake bomb and arrested him when he tried to trigger it.

    Up until that point the guy sounded like a dipshit that needed to be weeded out of the gene pool, but then he started talking about muslims making christian kids wear hijab and Clinton’s pedo ring and suddenly it was clear he directly consumes fascist TV and believes it all. He’s a chunk of vicious animated meat with shit for brains.

    Reveal: bundyville

  4. says

    The journalists failed to ask the FBI director: “hey you are the director of the FBI, when are you going to fix this?”

    It’s not as if “not having a designation for domestic terrorism” is hard to fix. You just, you know, start. And you designate a handful of analysts to scrub through the past cases And designate them. That’d take at most a week.

    The idea that the FBI can’t track cases directly contradicts the idea of “case” – in fact a “case” is “tracking criminal activity and turning it over to prosecutors” – it’s what the FBI does. Exhaustive documentation is what the FBI does, assuming they are not just playing tiddly-winks.

  5. says

    I’m going to break the “3 comment” rule on my own posting!

    One other thing: the FBI has historically had a great deal of difficulty defining what “terrorism” is. That’s why they don’t like to designate cases as “terrorism.” In this situation I am willing to tip my hat to the FBI’s having some shreds of prosecutorial integrity because they’re right – you can’t charge someone with something vague, especially when it’s a matter of opinion. The FBI knows that much.


    That’s why you get federal prosecutors engaging in prosecutorial misconduct such as is demonstrated in the case of Jose Padilla. Padilla appears to have been mousetrapped by the FBI and prosecuted by the government under a changing set of charges and kept in prison the whole time. First he was an “enemy combatant” who was charged with “giving financial support to terrorism” but then the government realized 3 years in that they didn’t have a case. So they kept him in prison and charged him with helping some guys financially who wanted to go to Chechnya – the new set of charges have absolutely nothing about the alleged “dirty bomb” plot. This was after his being held for 5 years without any charges being made against him at all just like people claimed would happen if the military courts were allowed to hold people indefinitely until they were charged.By 2006, the three charges Padilla was indicted for were all dismissed. At that point, you’d think the government would let him go and pay him a substantial settlement for falsely imprisoning him for nearly a decade, right? Nah, the federal court reinstated the charges basically saying “I know you just said that there isn’t even enough evidence to hold a trial about his attempted conspiracy to commit murder, but: lock him up for attempting to commit murder anyway.”

    The important point here is that the FBI is right that “terrorism” is a hard charge to make stick, especially when you have CIA interrogators and US special forces walking around freely on the streets. What is “terrorism”? When Jose Padilla is arrested and spends over a decade in prison, and the military fights illegal wars and bombs hospitals and the CIA shoots hellfire missiles at weddings? What, exactly, the fuck is “terrorism”?

    I mention the Padilla case because it’s one of those “domestic terrorism” cases the FBI doesn’t track. Oh, wait, no, that was a muslim, so they’re all over his shit – rather obviously.

    To be fair, the FBI was all over Cliven Bundy. But that had nothing to do with the fact that he’s a mormon and everything to do with the fact that he’s a white domestic terrorist. Oh, wait, you mean they just completely dropped that and swept it under the rug? Poor Jose Padilla made one mistake: he’s not a white christian. OK, that’s two mistakes but you get my drift.

    It is impossible to ignore the FBI’s extremely selective role in prosecuting non-christian non-whites. They only go after white people when they’re committing financial crimes against other (richer) white people. In other words, the FBI is the “rich white people’s police.” Most Americans do not realize that the FBI was originally formed to go after and suppress communists and labor organizers; i.e.: to protect corporate interests. By the time it was a going concern, a prototypical secret police, Heinrich Himmler took a look at them and used them as a model for the formation of the Gestapo – and the Gestapo hewed to exactly the same political agenda as the FBI. I do not believe Himmler and Hoover ever met, but if they did, it would have been for selfies, backslapping, and cigars.

    Edit: Padilla’s “dirty bomb” plot appears to have consisted of googling for “radiological dispersion bomb” – there is no evidence at all that he made any attempt or had any idea where to get his hands on any radiological material.

  6. says

    Most Americans do not realize that the FBI was originally formed to go after and suppress communists and labor organizers; i.e.: to protect corporate interests.

    I did not know this fact up until now.
    Of course, I’m not surprised at all to learn something like this.

  7. says

    What I’m a bit confused about is why he’d lie about it. Are there any thoughts on that? Was it perhaps to give the impression that the FBI is taking white supremacist terrorism seriously? I suppose if he’d come out and said, for example, that they made 0 arrests, people may have had a “WTF, FBI?!?” reaction, recognizing that surely they’d have to be making a number of arrests if they were actually doing their jobs. But, by lying, it leaves the impression that they are doing their jobs when they really aren’t. Could that be it, or might I be way off base here?

  8. dangerousbeans says

    The journalists failed to ask the FBI director: “hey you are the director of the FBI, when are you going to fix this?”

    good question to ask if you don’t want to get invited back to the next press conference…

  9. Dunc says

    What I’m a bit confused about is why he’d lie about it. Are there any thoughts on that?

    Habit. “Never tell the truth when a lie will do.” [Enabran Tain]

    My working assumption when it comes to the security services (of all nations) is that they’re always lying. It’s clearly not always correct, but based on historical evidence, it’s right more often than it’s wrong. They lie all the time, even when there’s no benefit to be gained from it… Probably just to muddy the waters. These are organisations that see the possession of accurate information as a weapon, so they’re keen to retain as much of it as possible solely for themselves, and to limit everybody else’s access to it as far as they can.

  10. Curt Sampson says

    @5 Marcus asks, “What is ‘terrorism’?”

    That’s easy. It’s when some one you don’t like the look of does some thing that you don’t like the look of, even if it’s something you fought to make legal to do in public.

    It works especially well against people of colour (though a black man walking around with a firearm in the U.S. is unlikely to live long enough to be prosecuted as a terrorist), but from the above example you can see that it can even be used against white people you don’t like the look of.

  11. Hatchetfish says

    The point about defending and designation gets at what I’ve wondered might be going on, if it’s not just bullshit all the way down:
    To congress, they’ll give a an aggregate number of the arrests that meet some ad-hoc common sense” definition. Much the same as, if Congress asked, they might be willing to answer “how many of your arrest subjects were wearing clown suits at the time of arrest?”
    When asked to cite specific cases though, lacking a statute they aren’t going to name names: “Yes, we arrested 10 florgthnappners. No, I won’t tell you names because we lack a legal definition of that crime, and it wouldn’t be fair.”
    They’re probably bullshitting, but I could just about see it from Mueller’s old fiefdom.

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