Curious Details Emerge on the Fort Dix Six

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MSNBC has an update on the six foreign nationals who were arrested for plotting to attack Fort Dix Army base and it looks like they might have been a bunch of bumblers egged on by over-aggressive FBI informants — leading to speculation that an entrapment defense is upcoming. (Spotted on TPM.)

As for the bumbling plotters: “The FBI learned of the alleged plot when the men went to a Circuit City store and asked a clerk to transfer a jihad training video of themselves onto a DVD.”

As for the over-aggressive informants: “One of the [accused plotters]… called a Philadelphia police officer in November, saying that he had been approached by someone who was pressuring him to obtain a map of Fort Dix, and that he feared the incident was terrorist-related, according to court documents.”

Also, here’s the description of one of the informants actions: “He railed against the United States, helped scout out military installations for attack, offered to introduce his comrades to an arms dealer and gave them a list of weapons he could procure, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.”

But that might not be enough for an entrapment defense to fly. Entrapment has become extremely difficult to prove in the post-9/11 world, and as one long-time FBI agent told the AP, “If the source talks them into committing a crime, that is entrapment… [but] if they are predisposed to commit a crime, and you give them the opportunity, that’s fine.” Pretty easy case to make.

Now I’m obviously in favor of giving the FBI the space and tools it needs to fight crime and violence, terrorism or no. If these guys legitimately had a plan to kill American servicemen, then throw them in the lock-up. But after the FBI and the Department of Justice strong-armed the prosecutions of the Lackawanna Six, John Walker Lindh, and Jose Padilla, you have to apply a skeptical eye to these things. The case of the Lackawanna Six is particularly instructive.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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