Using another undercover sting operation, the FBI has arrested a Massachusetts man for attempting to pilot a drone aircraft filled with explosives into the Pentagon and the Capitol building. Although the specific alleged plot was different, the undercover operation sounds a lot like that used to ensnare Mohamed Mohamud:
The FBI undercover agents provided Ferdaus with the money to buy the drones, but law enforcement officials said Ferdaus came up with the idea for the attack. Prosecutors said Ferdaus “was presented with multiple opportunities to back out of his plan, including being told that his attack would likely kill women and children,” but that he “never wavered in his desire to carry out the attacks.”
Entrapment has yet to work as a defense in a post-9/11 terrorism case, although we'll see how Mohamud fares next year. My early, tentative thinking is that Mohamud has a better shot than Ferdaus does for a number of reasons:
1) Mohamud was 19 at the time of his arrest, and even the government's affidavit doesn't really lay out a case that Mohamud had any technical capabilities of his own. Ferdaus, on the other hand, is 26, has a physics background, and apparently had constructed some cell phone detonators that were operational.
2) The government gave Mohamud money to buy bomb components, and then built the bomb for him. All Ferdaus allegedly needed was the money to buy the drones. Perhaps if the government had not interceded, he would have been able to get the money from other sources.
3) Mohamud is being prosecuted in the District of Oregon, much of which lies in Multnomah County. It's hard to think of too many better venues for the defense. Maybe San Francisco or Berkeley . . . . Ferdaus is likely to be prosecuted in Washington, D.C., which may be a "liberal" district, but it's also the site of the Pentagon, which was also allegedly one of Ferdaus's targets.