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Journalist Trevor Aaronson was interviewed here in June, 2013 about his book "Terror Factory"; he now reports for al Jazeera, and returns along with Jeremy Young, senior producer in the investigations unit. They talk about their powerful hour-long report, FBI Informants.Click here for free audiobook download from Audible, and earn $15 for the PBC Podcast!
Aaronson was the first to report that the FBI has 15,000 paid informants, and that about 1% of "domestic terrorism" cases are legitimate, without the influence of an informant/provacateur. He and Young detail the three cases covered in their TV report: Miami's "Liberty City 7", who were convicted of material support for terrorism after informant Elie Assad got them to pledge allegiance to bin Laden; "the bodybuilder" Craig Montez infiltrated a southern California mosque and later turned on the FBI; and Darren Griffin in Toledo, Ohio--a drug offender who relentlessly worked to frame a man named Amawi.
Aaronson and Young describe the cases and the central role of the paid FBI informant in each one. We explore the lack of effective oversight by FBI management, the possible use of NSA surveillance in these cases, and the recent wave of coverage of these abuses: the Newburgh 4 documentary now showing on HBO, the recent report by Human Rights Watch, and the data analysis of these domestic cases by attorney Steve Downs.
Quoting from the show's final narration: "These spies lurk in the dark corners of America's justice system. Neighbor informing on neighbor, one American luring another, a nation spying on itself on orders from the FBI."