The report says that while there have been many legitimate prosecutions of individuals and groups who were planning terror attacks, many others were people who were not involved in the planning or financing of any attacks until the government became involved, encouraging them to make such plans and carry them out. They also found that in many cases there were violations of due process and other abuses which have resulted in long prison sentences for people who were induced to take part in plans.
The “Newburgh Four” are cited as an example of the questionable tactics used. These men, convicted of plotting to blow up synagogues and attack U.S. military bases were pressured by the paid government informant to move the plot forward. The four were all ex-cons who spent most of their time prior to being recruited by the informant playing video games and getting high. One of them is considered to be borderline mentally disabled.
The informant plied them with gifts, food and cash as well as providing them with cars and eventually offering them $250,000 to plant bombs in the synagogues. He was also an ex-con who was caught repeatedly lying on the witness stand.
“The government manufactured the criminal and manufactured the crime,” said one defense attorney.
The Village Voice reported that U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon seemed to agree with that sentiment saying that she did not believe that the four were capable of even conceiving the plot on their own:
“I suspect that real terrorists would not have bothered themselves with a person who was so utterly inept,” she said. “Only the government could have made a terrorist out of Mr. Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope.
I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it, and brought it to fruition. [T]here never would have been any terrorist operation if the government had not made one up.”
This is only one high profile case. The report estimates that approximately a third of the convictions obtained were through informant instigated plots by people who never would have considered undertaking an act of terrorism if not encouraged by government agents to do so.
The video below is from Human Rights Watch.