Manufactured terrorist threat

The big news this week has been the foil­ing of a plot to smug­gle ground-to-air mis­sile from Rus­sia into the Unit­ed States. ABC News claims there’s “less in mis­sile plot than meets the eye” and goes so far as to call it a set-up. From start to fin­ish, the plot was orches­trat­ed as a sting oper­a­tion by U.S. and Russ­ian agents. The accused mas­ter­mind Hemant Lakhani had no Russ­ian con­tacts and no his­to­ry of arms smug­gling. The ABC arti­cle paints him as a small-time black mar­ket importer down on his luck who thought this would be a good way of mak­ing easy mon­ey and pay­ing off debts.
This doesn’t excuse his actions but it does change the way this we think about this whole plot. There was no arms sell­er. There was no ter­ror­ist user. No weapon made it by U.S. or Russ­ian intel­li­gence (for they were the ones who shipped it). What we do have is a two-bit mid­dle­man who talked trash abou the U.S. and offered to be a link of the arms trade. Like an idiot, Lakhani fol­lowed the bread crumbs of oppor­tu­ni­ty left for him by U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies. We now know there are peo­ple desparate enough to sel­ll any­thing if the price is right (didn’t we already know that?) and that sales­men will talk­ing trash about a poten­tial buyer’s com­peti­tors to close a deal.
That there’s some­one will­ing to sell mis­siles is indeed fright­en­ing, but it’s not worth this sort of media cov­er­age. No ter­ror­ist was involved in all this and the only ones talk­ing about using these weapons were U.S. agents! One has to to won­der if this is the lat­est “threat” all “cooked up by some White House insider”: “Lets pose as Al Qae­da, wave lots of mon­ey in front of a desparate idiot, nail him when he grabs for it and declare it as a Al Qua­da plot foiled.”

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