Last week, as you may have heard, the Justice Department breathlessly announced that it had uncovered and broken up a terrorist plot against the government, leading to the arrest of a 20 year-old man, Christopher Lee Cornell, in Ohio. According to the FBI, Cornell was planning to go to the US Capitol and kill government officials. As often happens with these kinds of announcements, the press was quick to jump in and fuel the narrative of some big terror plot that the FBI was able to miraculously disrupt at the last minute.
For years now, we’ve pointed out a pattern of how nearly every big headline about the US disrupting a domestic terrorist attack was almost always about the FBI creating its very own plot, and then pressuring and cajoling some vulnerable, poverty-stricken, desperate Muslim (almost always Muslim) young men into “joining” this plot. This happens despite those individuals rarely having expressed direct interest in any sort of terrorist activity, or having any connections or means to carry out such activity. But with continued pressure from “FBI informants” (who tend to either by paid by the FBI or are trying to reduce punishment for other crimes they’ve been charged with — or both), eventually these men agree to take part in a “plot” that was entirely designed by the FBI and had no chance of ever happening. We’ve written about similar occurrences over and over and over and over and overand over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
It looks like this one is more of the same. As The Intercept reports:
The alleged would-be terrorist is 20-year-old Christopher Cornell, who is unemployed, lives at home, spends most of his time playing video games in his bedroom, still addresses his mother as “Mommy” and regards his cat as his best friend; he was described as “a typical student” and “quiet but not overly reserved” by the principal of the local high school he graduated in 2012.
Not only did he just convert to Islam a few months ago (and there’s no indication that he ever actually attended the mosque that he claimed to have joined), but the details of the overall story certainly match the pattern of an FBI made up plot:
The affidavit filed by an FBI investigative agent alleges Cornell had “posted comments and information supportive of [ISIS] through Twitter accounts.” The FBI learned about Cornell from an unnamed informant who, as the FBI put it, “began cooperating with the FBI in order to obtain favorable treatment with respect to his criminal exposure on an unrelated case.” Acting under the FBI’s direction, the informant arranged two in-person meetings with Cornell where they allegedly discussed an attack on the Capitol, and the FBI says it arrested Cornell to prevent him from carrying out the attack.
For someone supposedly plotting a terrorist attack, Cornell didn’t seem particularly subtle. The affidavit notes that Cornell first came to their attention because of his tweets in support of ISIS. Then the informant reached out to him and began pushing the plot.