While the four losers who wanted to blow up Riverdale synagogues — whose conspiracy was “played out on a veritable soundstage of hidden cameras and secret microphones,” per the Times — continue to grab scary headlines, some are suggesting that they were just pathetic mooks who got grifted by an overzealous FBI informant. “It seems that the informant whipped up their violent tendencies and their hatred of Jews, cooked up the plot, incited them, arranged their purchase of weapons, and then had them busted,” says Robert Dreyfuss at The Nation. “It is disgusting and outrageous that the FBI is sending provocateurs into mosques.”
TPM Muckraker’s Zachary Roth describes the crew as “a group of struggling credulous, under-educated men, existing on the fringes of society, who lacked the intelligence or willpower to avoid getting taken in by a government informant anxious to mitigate his own situation…” Roth finds it “almost reassuring that the biggest terror bust we’ve seen in a while has this sad-sack group at his center.”
Graham Rayman’s profile of the interesting FBI man who snared these birds is here.