A man is facing a felony charge after being accused of attempting to detonate a bomb in Illinois. The 18-year-old U.S citizen allegedly spent several months researching jihad and posted on how he was going to kill Americans. He attracted the notice of federal authorities, who then appear to have groomed the man into attempting a terrorist action. When he allegedly attempted to detonate a fake bomb in Chicago, he was arrested on at least one felony charge.
The man’s lawyer has blasted the behavior of federal agents stating that the FBI specifically targeted the teen and had to hold his hand throughout the entire scheme. He has stated the whole scenario is suspicious and suggests the FBI led him into the act. The man was only 17 when the situation began and he attracted the notice of the government through his online activities. However, he is described by his family as a polite man and he was never known to cause trouble.
The criminal complaint against the man lays out his behavior online and talks about email exchanges the man allegedly participated in that encouraged others to join him in jihad. The man allegedly listed 29 targets he wanted to hit while communicating with FBI operatives. He allegedly also provided the information for the bar he eventually targeted. The FBI then placed the fake bomb inside of a Jeep that was close to the bar. The man then allegedly walked to an alley away from the bar and attempted to detonate the device using a remote trigger mechanism.
A conviction on this level of felony charge could net this Illinois man a life sentence. However, his lawyer appears to have cast suspicion on the federal agents’ behavior towards the teen, suggesting that he had to be led into the actions. Whether this man would have eventually committed such an action on his own is unknown, because it appears he has never been involved in terrorist actions before this incident. It is possible that his alleged online rants about jihad, which are well protected by his right to freedom of speech, may have led this teen into an FBI net intended to capture terrorists. He would do well to understand his legal rights as they pertain to the charges against him as he seeks to fight against them in court.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Car bomb suspect appears in court,” Annie Sweeney, Sept. 18, 2012