Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman
March 16, 2013
Al-Qaeda is far from being the threat it used to be, according to U.S. intelligence officials. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is still foiling plenty of domestic terrorism plots, some of which they’ve helped hatch.
This week, the nation’s top intelligence officials testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the surprising revelation was how much people such as James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, talked about budgets and cyber attacks instead of threats posed by al-Qaeda.
Furthermore, the terrorist organization’s regional spinoffs in the Middle East and Africa may pose trouble locally, but aren’t in a position to carry out attacks on American soil.
And yet, the FBI keeps exposing and arresting anti-American elements in the U.S. that are allegedly a threat.
According to Mother Jones, the bureau—which has reportedly spent $3.3 billion pursuing terrorists since the 9/11 attacks—often goes after “disgruntled” individuals who seem willing to participate in a terrorist plot, including phony ones cooked up by federal agents. The FBI’s involvement goes so far as to provide plans, equipment and weapons to those eventually arrested for participating in the schemes.
One example cited was Michael Curtis Reynolds, who was arrested in 2005 for expressing interest in helping blow up pipelines and refineries in the U.S.
Later, the FBI concluded that Reynolds probably wasn’t as serious a threat as they previously feared, in part because he might be suffering from mental health problems.