Way Down in The Hole

Another thwarted wannabe terrorist, another FBI affidavit…

We won’t dive as deeply into this one, because now we know what to look for: Was there a plot afoot before the FBI stepped in to aid and abet? Was the FBI protecting us, or just appearing to protect us?

Our story begins, as all stories do, on Facebook:

On September 29, 2010, MARTINEZ made a public, open source posting on his Facebook account stating: “The sword is cummin the reign of oppression is about 2 cease inshallah ta’ala YA muslimeen! don’t execept the free world we are slaves of the Most High and never forget it!” On October 1, 2010, he made another public posting: “Any 1 who opposes ALLAH and HIS Prophet PEACE.Be.upon.Him I hate u with all my heart.” On October 8, 2010, the CHS brought this information about MARTINEZ to the attention of the FBI.

CHS stands for Confidential Human Source, or Freelance Fink. We’re told nothing about the Fink, which is a shame. This being Baltimore, we’re curious which character from The Wire we’re dealing with.

And how did the Fink come across the Perp’s Wall — apparently some days after those posts? The story we’re not being told is actually more interesting than the one on the page.

For that matter, the story on the page is curiously familiar:

On October 10, 2010, in response to these postings, the CHS communicated with MARTINEZ over the latter’s Facebook account. MARTINEZ told the CHS that he wanted to go to “Pakistan or Afghanistan (a country that struggle for the sake of allah swt.).”

As before, the Perp’s first wish is to take his argument overseas. But unlike before, it appears that the Perp redirects his attention stateside without Federal assistance:

On October 22, 2010, according to information provided by the CHS, MARTINEZ approached the CHS about attacking Army recruiting centers or anything military… Because MARTINEZ believed his own criminal record precluded him from purchasing a gun, MARTINEZ suggested that the CHS purchase a weapon for him…

If we’re to believe the Fink — which we’re not obligated to — this is the moment the attempted conspiracy begins, and solely of the Perp’s own devising. Our story now diverges significantly from Portland, since there the FBI had to practically beg that perp to think of a local target.

So we can’t quite accuse the FBI here of inventing something from nothing.

Just almost nothing:

At one point during the October 28 meeting, the CHS and MARTINEZ were joined by another individual (PERSON 1). MARTINEZ spoke to this individual in general terms about his beliefs regarding jihad in an effort to obtain PERSON 1’s support. PERSON 1 was not interested and they parted ways…

During a recorded meeting with the CHS on November 4, 2010, MARTINEZ introduced the CHS to PERSON 2, whom MARTINEZ described as a potential recruit for his operation. PERSON 2 refused to participate, telling MARTINEZ that what he wanted to do was wrong ideologically, would cause harm to Muslims, and probably would result in MARTINEZ getting caught…

During the November 15 meeting, MARTINEZ and the CHS met with PERSON 3, an individual MARTINEZ said could provide them with guns… PERSON 3 rebuffed MARTINEZ, telling him that it would take years of study to wage jihad successfully.

Seems the Perp talked a big game, but couldn’t get any traction. At least, not until November 16, when he met the Afghani Brother, here played by the UC — Undercover Fed:

MARTINEZ told the UC about his “goal” to become “Shaheed” (a martyr), and his desire to attack the “Armed Services Center” on Route 40. He stated that he wanted to go in there with a gun and shoot each person, but he needed training… The UC told MARTINEZ to tell him what he wanted to do and he (UC) would support him, so long as MARTINEZ promised to keep their discussions and plans between them.

Finally, the Fake Plot is on!

But as it unfolds, as we read through pages establishing that the Perp had evil in his heart and oatmeal in his head, there seems, like before, to be something missing:

A co-conspirator.

Not for lack of trying, of course. The Perp asked three people to help him, and all three refused. In the end, the FBI “protected” us from somebody who couldn’t even commit a crime on his own.

Perhaps it’s better that they took him off the streets before he could find a willing accomplice — while the situation was still under control. Or, perhaps, they should have waited until something more substantial developed — the Fink was keeping close tabs, after all, and the FBI didn’t step in directly until the potential helpers declined.

Because maybe there are networks of terrorist moles in the United States. And if there are, it would be nice if we used potential leads like this to catch them, instead of wasting our time on elaborate stings to capture ineffective hotheads.

As it stands, we don’t feel safer, now that a patsy is in custody. Instead, it seems that the FBI is using Facebook as a convenient means to meet its quota, and not bothering to fulfill its duty.

U.S. v. Martinez [PDF]

This being Baltimore, we’re curious which character from The Wire we’re dealing with.

As long as it’s not Omar, I’m cool with the script.

This wannabe seems motivated albeit inept. I’m not so sure the FBI screwed him, though. I agree that we’ve got plenty of leaderless terrorist cells in the US. We’ve had them WAY before 9/11, and many are white dudes that the SPLC has been tracking for years. They’re a largely ignored threat, well, ignored by local and federal gov’ts.

The internet is a blessing and a curse. Look at WikiLeaks, /b/ and Anonymous. In certain circumstances, there should be censorship on the internet. /b/ is known for trying to post crap like child pornography, yet they also spawned Anonymous. Sure, A is DDoSing The Enemies of WikiLeaks under the name of free speech, but many members also want to be able to post child porn on 4chan (not a public actor, /b/), and moot’s not having it.

So, yeah. If you go on FB or wherever and try to get your militant buds of whatever religious or non-religious persuasion on board, you reap what you sow. I’ve got no sympathy for this idiot, but I would also like to see the FBI use the same vigor and manpower to follow up on the SPLC’s leads. I’d love to see the Christian Identity bastards go down.

Disaffected people are everywhere… especially in the current state of the US America’s economy. It’s like the supply of folks who appear on Jerry Springer, it’s not like you’re going to run out of idiots with major league personal issues who are willing to humiliate themselves on TV, limitless.

Get someone who’s dumb and ignorant and who’s stupid enough to publicly say really stupid and violent things in a public forum plus throw in a bureaucracy that wants to justify its budget and a few ultra ambitious “special” agents then you get what we have here.

@ManchuCandidate: Yeah. I see your point. They’re definitely going after the low-hanging fruit. The question is whether the low-hanging fruit should also be pursued. It’s a fine line, and I’m not sure where it should be drawn.

I remind myself that adolescents (and 21 still counts in that group) have immature brains in the sense that they are often unable to rationally assess risk. The may know that certain behaviors are dangerous, but the part of them that is able to quantify the harm behaviors may cause is often off the mark. I get it. That’s why Jr’s been allowed to develop pretty much at his own pace, because he’s not quite there yet.

But back to this 21-year-old. Was he really a threat? Who the hell knows? And the fact that we don’t know gives me pause.

Is the FBI trying to rack up its numbers? As you and Dodger have noted, absolutely. Are they wrong for going after this kid/guy? That’s where I’m not sure. Could the FBI’s resources be better used in light of many of their recent “victories”? Absolutely. I’m just not sure this dude qualifies as a victim of the gov’t. I’m waiting for more information. As of right now, I’m glad he’s off the streets.

Also, I think the timing of his outreach attempts makes me less sympathetic than I am for the Oregon kid. Martinez was all ready to go. But impulsive behavior is also the curse of many people his age (and mine, sadly). So, I’m conflicted.

The distinction I make between this case and the Oregon one is that the Oregon kid seemed to give up after a while UNTIL the FBI reached out to him. He was floundering and maybe not so into it by the time the FBI started emailing him. Once the FBI did start emailing him, what’s he gonna do but save face, or maybe they reignited his passion for causing harm. It’s hard to tell.

The Maryland kid seemed on a mission regardless of FBI intervention. I’m digging all the people who turned MD kid down. Good for them.

Maybe the FBI just reached out to MD kid in a more timely manner than they did to Oregon kid, and that made all the difference. It’s hard to tell.


To clarify, there are *some* people that try to post CP on /b/. They typically find themselves b& + v& pretty quick. They’ve even been known to do the occasional sting operation (link NSFW) on the sick fucks. Plus, they really hate people who hurt cats (see numerous examples on ED) – so they can’t be *all* bad. :)

RE: the FBI business, what bugs me even more is that it’s clear they’ll crow about ANY arrest whatsoever that they can call “terrorism”. Aren’t we spending a disproportionate amount of FBI resources on “anti-terror efforts”? Shrub assured us that there were AQ agents everywhere, but it does seem odd that all we find are morons who can’t even sign up accomplices.

+1 on the SPLC list; I’m pretty sure the same tactics we’ve seen above would certainly catch a few Beckerheads with an ax to grind…

@al2o3cr: Oh, absolutely — not all of /b/ or Anonymous is bad. Not at all. Didn’t mean to imply that. /b/ can be self-policing at times. Sometimes, not so much.

Aren’t we spending a disproportionate amount of FBI resources on “anti-terror efforts”? Shrub assured us that there were AQ agents everywhere, but it does seem odd that all we find are morons who can’t even sign up accomplices.

Yep, but don’t you feel safer? O_0 I dunno. There’s a reason a lot of kids fall into or are recruited by these groups, and that really sucks. Most don’t really have an understanding of mortality. On a whole, kids are prone to magical thinking. Some are indoctrinated since birth, some are disaffected loners, and some are plain violent. Again, I’m conflicted. Hopefully we’ll get more information soon.


ADDD: ZOMG! “Christ was low on mana.” Ha!

@karen marie doesn’t want to know: Ha! Not me. Just been forced into it by offspring. I make sure I’ve got NoScript running before I hit æ and have brain bleach for Urban Dictionary. MUDs were my fault.

@JNOV: i thought the same thing. the wire reruns on a directv channel now. bought the soundtrack a while back with three different versions of down in the hole.

TJ/ House dems stage revolt, will not pass tax cut deal in its current form.

@IanJ: Gotta palpate it to find it. I won’t believe it until I feel it.

@JNOV: No need to feel sympathic for the Balmer Jihadist — he clearly made more of an effort than the Oregon Patsy.

But the thing is, he failed. Tried to enlist three people, all turned him down. He couldn’t even drive — there are some great comic moments in the affidavit, including a Tarantino-worthy showdown when everybody is “suspicious” of each other after Portland.

Heck, he’s not even low-hanging fruit — he’s already dropped from the tree and rotting on the ground. Picking him up does nothing to lead us to anybody else, and doesn’t really seem to protect us from him.

But the FBI gets to announce it bagged a Terrist, local citizens get to freak out, and next year’s budget gets a holiday bonus.

@nojo: Oh. Ow! How did you read that without having a fit? I’m barely into it, and I’m twitching. Medias?

(People, please keep commenting until my Ying gets buried.)

Okay. Paragraph 20 is really bugging me. Martinez was saddened that he couldn’t find any friends to help him, I mean no one, and then the UC says, you don’t have to do it, but “All I know is that I have one more brother I found that I can trust.”

Oh boy. Martinez gets cold feet after the Oregon kid gets arrested, and wants to know more about UC. There’s a convenient recording malfunction when CHS and UC confer.

Okay. Yeah. He was totally played. He had the mens rea, but he couldn’t actus reus out of a paper bag without major help.

@JNOV caint believe she did that: “Evil in his heart and oatmeal in his head.” One of my better lines lately.

@nojo: Yeah. I love the way he thought that he needed to convince the UC that he wasn’t FBI. Ugh.

@JNOV caint believe she did that: Also note how lovingly the FBI recounts his visits to public websites. Because if I ever plan a terrorist conspiracy, the first place I’m going is a Facebook page.

The common thread I’m seeing with these guys besides the great line you used is that they also have this overarching need to prove themselves and to save face. I don’t know if it’s related to their ages, cultures, religious fanaticism, childhoods — likely a combination of many or all — and that bothers me, too. There are these adolescents who have no purpose or hope until someone puts a dumbass idea into their heads and then provides them with the support necessary to execute the dumbass idea. It’s like they’re getting jumped in a gang, but here the gang is the gov’t/jail.

@nojo: Right. Man. WTF? I’m glad Saw gave us some snugg yesterday.

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