This isn’t a story about the police stings that we are all too familiar with. But it is another example of how the FBI goes too far with sting operations.
This is based on a story on CNN.com back in 2017
Every day was the same for Rayyan, 21, a depressed pizza delivery man from Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Working for a pizzeria in Detroit, he’d drive late nights on desolate inner city streets, smoking pot hoping to keep boredom at bay. He carried a pistol to protect himself from robbers.
Rayyan wished he could meet a girl but his strict Muslim parents didn’t allow him to date.
In the fall of 2017, at the age of 21, Ryyan found himself deeply depressed and contemplating suicide. Pouring out his feelings to strangers on the internet. He posted pictures of himself with a rifle and suggested he might want to wage jihad.
When he did that, out of the blue, he got a response from a woman he’d never heard of called Ghaada. The two never actually met in person, but over time, a very intense relationship developed. Ghaada professed her love for Ryyan. They courted online for weeks. Then, one day, Ghaada stopped writing. She simply disappeared. A new woman took her place and began texting Ryyan too. This woman’s name was Jannah. Jannah wasn’t interested in romance. She wanted to wage violent jihad.
She told Ryyan that if he planned to kill himself, he should take out some infidels along with him.
“When it’s jihad, or when it’s based on our creed or for a cause, that’s the only time Allah allows it,” she wrote. Eventually, Ryyan admitted to Jannah that he had fantasized about killing people in the church near his pizza shop, though he stressed that he would never actually do it. In fact, he encouraged Jannah not to hurt anyone.
Days after he wrote that, FBI agents swooped in and arrested Ryyan. That’s when he learned that the women he’d been texting didn’t exist. Ghaada and Jannah were fake, pure creations of the FBI. The bureau had spent an entire year working to entrap a depressed pizza delivery boy and created a honey trap to do it. But it still didn’t work. After all that work, the feds still didn’t have enough evidence to file terrorism charges against him. Nothing Ryyan had said was criminal. He could have gone free, but they couldn’t let him go free. That’d be too embarrassing to the government. So they charged him with an absurd non-crime — “unlawful possession of a firearm while under the influence of a controlled substance.” He didn’t shoot anyone or brandish a gun, he just had it — and sent him to prison for five years.
The FBI often does more than stop crimes. Sometimes, the FBI creates crimes. A law enforcement agency should never encourage anyone to break the law. It’s grotesque, and yet, they routinely do that every day.