When three Brooklyn men were arrested last month on charges that they intended to travel to Syria to fight with the Islamic State, it fed for many fear of “homegrown terrorists” — people born or raised in the United States who, without any pre-existing connection to a militant group, take up arms.
For others, however, the story followed a pattern seen in other terrorism arrests: Shiftless young men, feeling a vague anger about events in the Middle East, get approached and cultivated by an undercover confidential informant. As details emerge about the informant’s major role in developing the doomed terrorist plot, the question often becomes whether the men in shackles would ever have been a real threat had the paid government operative not helped them become one.
Recent history is littered with reasons to share the fear (see Boston Marathon bombing) as well as the suspicion (see the Newburgh four).
On tonight’s episode of Straight Up, the Brooklyn Independent Media reporter roundtable show, join me, Ali Gharib from The Nation and Murtaza Hussain from The Intercept as we discuss covering terrorism and the fight against it. The show airs at 7pm on Brooklyn Independent Media (TW 756/Cablevison 70/Verizon 46) and repeats Thursday at 7pm as well as next week at the same times. It also streams live http://bkindiemedia.bricartsmedia.org/watch-live/.
Here’s a clip: