Friday, January 7, 2011
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III in O.C. denies sting operations aimed at terrorists are entrapment
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said in Orange County this week that the agency's use of sting operations has helped thwart terror attacks despite criticism that they amount to entrapment.
“We have been tremendously successful in thwarting attacks,” Mueller said Thursday in Orange, where he was unveiling a regional cyber-crime data analysis lab.
The FBI has been accused of cornering suspects believed to be potential terrorists, and critics claim the alleged undercover sting operations are especially focused on the Muslim community.
“There will be critics,” Mueller said. “But the one thing that our critics should know and understand is that we investigate individuals. We don’t investigate areas of worship, we do not investigate particular persons. We have predication for undertaking any investigation we undertake.”
Recently, attorneys for Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year-old Somali American accused of plotting to explode a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting in Portland, Ore., said he was entrapped by the FBI, meaning he was induced into engaging in a crime he otherwise would not have committed.
The FBI said Mohamud indicated his intention to kill Americans, identified the target and refused to change his mind.
On Thursday, Mueller dismissed accusations that the bureau was ever guilty of employing entrapment during its investigations.
“There has not been yet to my knowledge a defendant who has been acquitted for asserting the entrapment defense, and that is, in my mind, because we are very careful in these investigations and its substantial oversight that they’re absolutely essential if we are to protect the community against terrorist attacks,” he said.
Mueller said that since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, each FBI field office has worked on outreach to the Muslim community and called relationships across the country “exceptionally good.”