The FBI declined to take up New York City's investigation of a terrorism suspect because the police department's own informant helped him so much. The suspect, 27-year-old Jose Pimentel, spent a lot of time with a neighbor who The New York Times reports "provided companionship and a staging area so Mr. Pimentel, a Muslim convert, could build three pipe bombs while the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department built its case." In the end, "it was the informer’s role, and that of his police handlers, that have now been cited as among the reasons the F.B.I., which had its own parallel investigation of Mr. Pimentel, did not pursue the case." The feds twice declined the city's offer to work together on the investigation and prosecution, which may turn out to be a good thing for New York State prosecutors who are now charging Pimentel with conspiracy, even though they say he worked alone, because of the time he spent working with the informant. Federal law doesn't allow such a charge. As we noted on Monday, Pimentel sometimes smoked marijuana, and The Times reports he did so with the informant, "and some recordings in which he makes incriminating statements were made after the men had done so." Both The Times and Talking Points Memo have reported the FBI was worried about entrapment issues, and sure enough, Pimentel's lawyer has already started suggesting he'll use that defense.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.