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FBI targets Kansas man for terrorist criminal activity

Many Americans have expressed concern about controversial investigation methods that lead to the capture of potential terrorists. Those practices are again being called into question after the recent arrest of a Kansas man, who was accused of criminal activity related to terrorism. The man, age 58, is an avionics technician who works at a Wichita airport. He is accused of attempting to bring a phony car bomb into the facility after working with undercover agents who were surreptitiously monitoring his activity.

This is not the first time that the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other agencies have worked to entrap other criminal defendants. A Midwestern teen was targeted after he was tricked by investigators into planting a phony car bomb in a major city. An East Coast man received a 17-year prison sentence for his collusion with undercover agents, who involved him in a fake plan to fly remote-control planes into major government buildings.

Attorneys in Kansas worry that such tactics erode trust in federal agencies by exploiting the "fragile mental state" of some potential criminal defendants. In other words, the FBI may be enticing people who would have otherwise avoided criminal activity. Judges have generally sided with federal agencies on these matters, confirming judgments that condemn many defendants to decades in jail. In one case, a federal employee infiltrated a mosque and encouraged several men to hatch a terrorist plot and participate in criminal activity. The judge in the case rejected an appeal after determining that the government's misconduct was not "outrageous" and therefore, was considered valid.

The defendant in this case had reportedly caught the attention of law enforcement by admitting to reading radical publications from al-Qaida affiliates online. He also reportedly visited extremist Web sites, which caught the attention of federal agents, who targeted him to join in their phony terrorist plan. The man was arrested as he drove the fake bomb - which he thought was real - onto the tarmac at the Kansas airport.

Even though the defendant may have had some extreme political ideas, he would not have necessarily gotten involved in a terror plot if the FBI had not approached him first. Defendants in such cases deserve to have their civil rights respected and preserved. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help these defendants, whether they are facing felonies or misdemeanors in connection with the terror plots.

Source: Huffington Post, "Terry Lee Loewen's Arrest Highlights Undercover Stings Used To Fight Domestic Terrorism" Roxana Hegeman, Dec. 14, 2013

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