Federal authorities say they've arrested an "Islamic extremist" who tried to buy weapons to attack sites around Tampa, Florida, using vehicle bombs, assault rifles, and grenades that an F.B.I. agent disabled before selling to him. It's a dramatic-sounding bust for the F.B.I., but becomes a little less so after you learn the guy only had access to the weapons he wanted because an undercover agent provided it. "Interesting how most terror plots 'thwarted' by the FBI are actually fake plots created by the FBI," tweeted British newspaper editor Benji Green, expressing the frustration a lot of people are starting to feel about terrorism busts like the one in New York last November, in which the NYPD reportedly gave a terrorism suspect so much help in building a bomb that he arguably couldn't have done it without them.
The bureau alleged on Monday that 25-year-old Sami Osmakac, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Kosovo, gave an F.B.I. agent a $500 down payment for an AK-47, an explosive belt, and homemade grenades, and that he also wanted an uzi sub-machine guns and high-capacity magazines. He actually obtained some of them, according to the local news station Bay News9, which is reporting from the federal complaint. "The explosives and firearms that he allegedly sought and attempted to use were rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public." Osmakac allegedly wanted to plant bombs in vehicles, detonate them remotely, then follow up the attacks with the guns and other explosives. His targets included "night clubs in the Ybor City area of Tampa, the Operations Center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Ybor City, and a business in the South Tampa area of Tampa."