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Less Than Meets the Eye? U.S. Government Sting Operation Criticized as Setup
ABCNEWS ^ | 08/13/03 | Brian Ross

Posted on 08/13/2003 5:45:23 PM PDT by Pikamax

Less Than Meets the Eye? U.S. Government Sting Operation Criticized as Setup

By Brian Ross

Aug. 13— Administration officials are leaving out key facts and exaggerating the significance of the alleged plot to smuggle a shoulder-launched missile into the United States, law enforcement officials told ABCNEWS. They say there's a lot less than meets the eye.

The accused ringleader, British national Hemant Lakhani, appeared today in federal court in Newark, N.J., and was ordered held without bond on charges of attempting to provide material support and material resources to terrorists and acting as an arms broker without a license.

Outside the courtroom, U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie called Lakhani an ally of terrorists who want to kill Americans.

"He, on many occasions, in recorded conversations, referred to Americans as 'bastards' [and] Osama bin Laden as a hero," said Christie.

But what he did not say was just how much of the alleged missile plot was a government setup from start to finish.

For example, Lakhani had no contacts in Russia to buy the missiles before the sting and had no known criminal record for arms dealing, officials told ABCNEWS.

"Here we have a sting operation on some kind of small operator … who's bought one weapon when actually, on the gray and black market, hundreds of such weapons charge hands," said military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.

Court documents show much of the case is based on the government's key cooperating witness, an informant seeking lenient treatment on federal drug charges, officials told ABCNEWS. He was the first person who led the government to Lakhani.

‘He Might Say Anything’

The missile shipped into the New York area last month was not a real missile — just a mockup — also arranged entirely by the government. The government also arranged the meetings at a New Jersey hotel and elsewhere, where Lakhani allegedly told undercover agents posing as al Qaeda terrorists about his support of bin Laden.

"One would have to ask yourself, would this have occurred at all without the government?" said Gerald Lefcourt, a criminal defense attorney.

In London today, Lakhani's neighbors described him as a quiet man who worked in the garment industry and had faced serious financial problems.

"I would have hoped the United States is thwarting real terrorism and not something manufactured because here all they're doing is stopping something they created," said Lefcourt.

Government officials said the case will show that Lakhani went along with the scheme willingly and was not entrapped. But the question remains whether any of this would have happened if the government had not set it up.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: abcdisney; abcnews; antiamerican; baghdadbob; barfalert; biasbiasbiasbias; blameamericafirst; boycott; boycottdisney; boytcott; clymers; counterintelligence; denydenydeny; disney; domesticterrorism; espionage; fifthcolumn; fifthcolumnists; lovedclintonswars; mediabias; mickeymouse; prodictator; propagandistas; proterrorist; saddamites; sting; terrorism; unamerican; waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa; waltsrotatingcorpse; waronterror

1 posted on 08/13/2003 5:45:24 PM PDT by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax
Does ABC News seem especially eager to downplay a potentially significant arrest? How newsworthy is it that a criminal defense lawyer questions whether entrapment occurred?

2 posted on 08/13/2003 5:52:55 PM PDT by Roberts
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To: Roberts
This (News? story) really pises me off
3 posted on 08/13/2003 5:54:50 PM PDT by woofie
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To: Pikamax
"One would have to ask yourself, would this have occurred at all without the government?"

Ask for Randy Weaver's opinion, I am sure he has some insight into such doings.
4 posted on 08/13/2003 6:13:37 PM PDT by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: Pikamax
It doesn't matter. The whole point of this operation was not to nail the perps. It was to cause every terrorist to be suspicious of his suppliers, and less likely to buy his materiel. The terrorists will always be wondering if that guy who says he has that missile launcher or whatever is really a government agent.
5 posted on 08/13/2003 6:13:53 PM PDT by Joe Bonforte
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To: Pikamax
My personal response to this story is this; What would ABC's reaction have been if this guy had been contacted by a genuine terrorist and had made a different contact in Russia that end-resulted in a downed US commercial aircraft?

My guarantee is that the criticism would have been rampant and valid! What this sting has done is at least two-fold. First a willing enabler of terrorism and his group has been taken out of circulation. Second and potentially more important, the publicity from this sting makes everybody in the terrorism process more suspicious and more cautious. This slows the conspiracies and the means for confirming identifications and bona-fides may make these easier to discover and break.

As usual ABC has made the grand effort to denigate and belittle a real success. The reason for this rush to do this just makes me shake my head!

6 posted on 08/13/2003 6:16:13 PM PDT by SES1066
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To: Pikamax
These people need to watch "Kudlow & Cramer" on CNBC to get a different outlook!
7 posted on 08/13/2003 6:22:45 PM PDT by sjersey
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To: Pikamax
What in the Hell is the matter with these people? What part of BOMB don't these liberal idiots understand? My God we live with a bunch of crazies in this nation who are hell bent on destroying us!!!
8 posted on 08/13/2003 6:23:28 PM PDT by ladyinred (The left have blood on their hands.)
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To: Pikamax
First of all, I would not expect ABC to have a positive report about anything. But, how is it that we have cooperation from the Russians and British when EVERYONE hates us, when our FBI, CIA, etc. are soooo bad. And, isn't President Bush to be praised for this by the same measure that he is personally blamed for everything else. What is it, "when did he know and what did he do about it"? Those guys at ABC are a bunch of pukes.
9 posted on 08/13/2003 6:24:12 PM PDT by caisson71
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To: ladyinred
With ABC there is less then meets the eye.
10 posted on 08/13/2003 6:24:12 PM PDT by CWOJackson (The World According to Garp isn't that bad when compared with The World According to Todd.)
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To: Pikamax
A "sting" IS a setup. Cops do it all the time with drugs and crimes of all sorts. Sounds good to me as I or someone I love could have been on the plane they were going to take down. In the words of a great man: "bring em on!!!"
11 posted on 08/13/2003 6:24:30 PM PDT by fish hawk
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To: fish hawk
I don't know about all of you freeper, but no one could set up up to sell surface to air missles. Talk about spinning the news.
12 posted on 08/13/2003 6:33:04 PM PDT by Pedrobud
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To: Pikamax; Shermy; PhilDragoo
military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.

Who just happened to be an employee of Media-MOST and Vladimir Gusinsky--one of Bill Clinton's mafia oligarch "friends." Felgenhauer is no friend of the USA. Or of Russia.

13 posted on 08/13/2003 6:41:54 PM PDT by DPB101
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To: Pikamax
Brian Ross is a Peter Jennings wannabe. He sucks.

That said, I have had two questions today:

1. What did the 20 months investigation cost?

2. Why don't we hear much about the other two guys who were arrested? From one AP report: Officials also announced money laundering charges against Yehuda Abraham, 76, of New York City, whom Christie said had handled the funds for the initial missile purchase.
14 posted on 08/13/2003 6:43:56 PM PDT by jackbill
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To: Pikamax
An article appeared earlier today that they wanted to turn this guy, but the BBC (!) found out about it and leaked the story, forcing them to arrest him.
15 posted on 08/13/2003 6:45:51 PM PDT by LS
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To: Pikamax
The one time a year I watch ABC News and it was tonight. Brian Ross said this whole sting was, basically crap, a set up, just a PR stunt. However, last night on Nightline, I think major news was broken and so far,it seems to have been ignored. Topic was the possibility of a SAM taking out a commercial airliner. Rep. Mica, R Fla heads the Aviation Subcommittee. He said that last April, his committee was given a top security briefing on the dangers of a missile bringing down a commercial jet. Based on the info they were given, which he declined for obvious reasons to expound upon, Congress hustled through some emergency funding and the President signed the directive to award contracts to 2 companies so they can develop technologies immediately to deal with this. He said the info was so alarming,that he has never seen money appropriated so quickly and without any fighting, in all his years in Congress. The 3 expert panel gave their opinions on the possibility of a SAM taking out an airliner in the US within a year- 20 % to 50 %,higher overseas.. When Stephanopoulos said that Gore was aware of the possibility of a SAM strike and had included it in his post TWA 800 report,Mica responded-but,that administration did nothing,this administration is dealing with the problem.
16 posted on 08/13/2003 7:04:09 PM PDT by Wild Irish Rogue
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To: LS
An article appeared earlier today that they wanted to turn this guy, but the BBC (!) found out about it and leaked the story, forcing them to arrest him.

As in the David Kelly/Andrew Gilligan attempt to smear Blair, the BBC is working for the wrong side.

I am shocked, shocked.

17 posted on 08/13/2003 7:09:31 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: Wild Irish Rogue
Flight 800 was witnessed by scores who saw a missile streaking upwards--

The CIA "animation" claimed what they saw was the nose separating and overtaking the fuselage--

While a radar plot showed a fast boat leaving the scene amidst many other craft speeding toward the scene.

FBI agents were seen pulling the fuselage wreckage outward, and upholstery fabric bearing a suspicious stain was discounted as merely a 3M adhesive--

Never mind that 3M did not make adhesive to match the stain.

That was 1996, during the administration which fired Woolsey for calling Ramzi Yousef an Iraqi agent.

The shoulder-fired SAM threat is not new.

18 posted on 08/13/2003 7:16:38 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DPB101
And Gerald Lefcourt hates Bush, hates the Patriot Act and was a lawyer for the Black Panthers. Nice, huh?
19 posted on 08/13/2003 7:23:19 PM PDT by Wait4Truth (God Bless our President!)
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To: PhilDragoo
Wasn't the theory that TWA 800 was taken down by friendly fire? An accidental Navy shoot down? I don't know anyone who bought the center fuel tank exploding.
20 posted on 08/13/2003 7:23:42 PM PDT by Wild Irish Rogue
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To: Wild Irish Rogue
Man, you got it right about ABC's "reporting"! I'm on travel and just happened to see that report. Needless to say, it turned my stomach! ABC (All the Best Communists) should be tried for lack of journalistic integrity.

When the US captures OBL or Saddam, ABC will probably fault the US for taking too long and not respecting their "rights"!

(Needless to say, ABC was also just estatic that the POS X42 was going to "help" Gov Davis!)

21 posted on 08/13/2003 7:25:33 PM PDT by texson66 ("Tyranny is yielding to the lust of the governing." - Lord Moulton)
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To: Wild Irish Rogue
I saw it as a terrorist using a shoulder-fired missile from the fast boat.

I dismissed the U.S. Navy as perp theory as not plausible.

I suggested to an airline pilot (who flew fighters in Vietnam) that the centerline fuel tank explosion was novel--he said, "Oh, no, it's happened before."

I filed that with the U.S. Army engineer who assured me that Oswald's marksmanship had indeed been duplicated in tests.

The centerline fuel tank explosion theory was probably first posited by Arlen Specter.

22 posted on 08/13/2003 7:35:53 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: Pikamax
"Here we have a sting operation on some kind of small operator … who's bought one weapon when actually, on the gray and black market, hundreds of such weapons charge hands," said military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.

Yeah, everyday planes are falling from the sky from these "hundreds of such weapons"[/sarcasm]
23 posted on 08/13/2003 7:43:58 PM PDT by PA Engineer
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To: Pikamax
All Bull Crap.
24 posted on 08/13/2003 8:02:35 PM PDT by Musket
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To: DPB101
Pavel Felgenhauer is described as "independent", "respected", "military analyst", etc.

He is called the "senior defense and military correspondent (or editor)" of Segodnya.

Segodnya is described as "respected" or "liberal" or "reformist".

Segodnya is owned by Media-Most.

Media-Most is headed by Vladimir Gusinsky.

25 posted on 08/13/2003 8:08:30 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: Pikamax
Jane Intelligence Digest has an article on this issue.

http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jid/jid030813_1_n.shtml

Missile smokescreen in Moscow

When the history of this week's 'breaking story' about the alleged smuggling of a Russian Igla surface-to-air missile into the USA is finally written, the subtitle should run as follows: 'State set-up; no relevance to terrorist threat'. JID sheds some light on a much hyped tale of stupidity, greed and political spin.

Despite the plethora of over-excited media headlines earlier this week, the classic 'sting' operation, which was organised by the Russian secret service (FSB) and the USA's FBI to entrap an alleged arms dealer allegedly seeking to sell an Igla missile to what he apparently believed was a group of Islamic terrorists in the USA, revealed little beyond the intelligence services' insatiable desire for positive publicity. Put bluntly, there was no realistic prospect of this sort of advanced weapon being supplied to anyone without the active collusion of the Russian state authorities.

Above all, most reports missed the main points. The real threat to the USA and its allies - and there is a genuine risk - comes less from hi-tech weaponry of the Igla variety than from the committed militant willing to commit suicide, which was demonstrated by Al-Qaeda on 11 September 2001. Moreover, Russia became involved in this 'sting' because its military has a well-deserved reputation for selling anything to anyone.

[End of non-subscriber extract]
26 posted on 08/13/2003 8:30:14 PM PDT by Your Nightmare
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To: jackbill
Peter Jennings, nothing! Brian Ross wants to be this guy:

Deny, deny, deny!

27 posted on 08/13/2003 9:00:52 PM PDT by weegee
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To: Pikamax
Ah yes, the Anti-American Broadcast Corporation at it again. And they sit in the airy towers in Manhattan and wonder why the vast Bush country between the 2 coasts are tuning them out faster than Saddam can run from one hideout to another. Gee...no wonder FoxNews is beating the pants off all of them. By this time in 2005, these network dinosaurs will be extinct. Anyone know if we can kick Peter Jennings out of the country?
28 posted on 08/13/2003 9:06:06 PM PDT by medscribe
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To: Pikamax
Somehow, I don't think this particular "sting" was the first time this arms dealer sought to supply arms to terrorists. If it took a sting to put him out of business once and for all, I'm all for it. This could save many lives in the long run, in spite of ABC's hate America whining.
29 posted on 08/14/2003 2:49:35 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (Never forget: CLINTON PARDONED TERRORISTS)
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To: Fresh Wind
ABC News:

BUSH KILLS TWO PUPPIES while saving 1000 children.

30 posted on 08/14/2003 3:03:19 AM PDT by Bluntpoint
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