We are having an issue with bad agent provocateurs with regards the 6 young Muslim men arrested in New York a few years back on terrorism charges. The agent infiltrated & radicalized a mosque and was given bonuses based on number of convictions. He bribed the young men (who were extremely poor) with large sums of money if they would commit a terrorist activity, which he planned and taught them their roles. The whole thing stinks of entrapment: there is no evidence that any of the young men were ever contemplating doing this…and some good evidence that they resisted, since it took something like 9 months for the agent to convince them to do it, constantly trying to get the group to become more radical (because he was getting paid based on that outcome).
I think you’re commenting on this case:
In this case, the 4 people (not 6) involved were targeted for the sting because they already had anti-American and especially anti-Jewish sentiments, and were angry about the US killing Muslims abroad. They did not have the knowledge or resources to commit acts of terror but it’s a big stretch to claim that the FBI radicalized them. And neither a jury nor an appeals court bought that argument.
It is reasonable to state that this is a waste of time, money, and law enforcement resources for the government to seek out potential terrorists and provide them the means to become actual terrorists just so that they can be locked up. But the argument against that is that if these people met someone connected with ISIS, Al Qaeda, or some similar organization (which is very plausible) rather than FBI informants and agents, then this could have ended up as a real terrorist plot.
This would seem to be, at the very least, on the edge of a slippery slope. That argument could be used for literally anything — witness the saying about Jesuits: “give us a child till he’s seven and we’ll have him for life”, basically saying that you can get people to believe anything, without even the feel of entrapment, given enough time.