How the FBI Created a Terrorist." That’s the subtitle of a new exposé in The Intercept by Trevor Aaronson, a journalist who investigates the FBI’s use of informants in sting operations. The article tells the story of Sami Osmakac, a mentally disturbed, financially unstable young man who was targeted by an elaborately orchestrated FBI sting in early 2012. The operation involved a paid informant who hired Osmakac for a job, when he was too broke to afford inert government weapons. The FBI provided the weapons seen in a so-called martyrdom video Osmakac filmed before he planned to deliver what he believed was a car bomb to a bar in Tampa, Florida. His family believes Osmakac never would have initiated such a plot without the FBI. And transcripts of conversations obtained by Aaronson show FBI agents appeared to agree, describing him as a “retarded fool” whose terrorist ambitions were a “pipe-dream scenario.” The transcripts show how the agents worked to get $500 to Osmakac so he could make a down payment on the weapons — something government prosecutors wanted to prove their case. In November 2014, Osmakac was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, despite a court-appointed psychologist diagnosing him with schizoaffective disorder.
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