Back in 2020 when the news broke that a handful of militiamen had been arrested for plotting to kidnap the Michigan governor, my first assumption was that the plot was likely fabricated by undercover Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents. This is because many, if not most, of the high profile terror cases seemingly thwarted by the FBI were in fact created by the FBI in the first place.
If you delve into the details of these cases, you quickly learn that no serious plot would have ever developed had the FBI not gotten involved. Therefore, I’ve argued that these cases are entrapment and the arrested suspects should be found not guilty. Unfortunately, juries usually side with the state in these cases, which encourages the FBI to fabricate more of them. Fortunately, the jury for the Michigan kidnapping plot acted against the norm:
A US federal jury has acquitted two men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor and failed to reach a verdict for two other defendants.
Jurors began deliberating this week after 14 days of testimony and had indicated earlier on Friday that they were deadlocked on some of the charges.
They ultimately reached no verdict against Mr Fox, who was alleged to be the group’s ringleader, and Mr Croft, both of whom were also facing an additional count each of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.
I would have rather seen a not guilty verdict, but I find a deadlock fair enough since the suspects still beat the charges.
Although I suspect this is decision a statistical anomaly, the optimist in me hopes that it’s the beginning of a trend where juries rule against the state in these kinds of cases. The FBI should not get credit for thwarting plots it creates. I will even argue that, if anything, the agency should be punished severely for doing so (but I know that will never happen).
If you’d like to learn more about the FBI’s tendency for fabricating terror plots, there is a good albeit a bit dated book titled The Terror Factory by Trevor Aaronson that details this strategy up to the 2014 publication date.