Did an FBI Agent Help Convince ‘Draw Muhammad’ Jihadi Shooter to Attack? 

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‘Tear up Texas,’ the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit filed in federal court Thursday.

Katie Zavadski reports: Days before an ISIS sympathizer attacked a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, he received a text from an undercover FBI agent.

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“It would certainly be inappropriate for an FBI undercover agent or cooperating witness to provoke or inspire or urge a person to commit an act of violence.”

“Tear up Texas,” the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit filed in federal court Thursday.

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Beast]

“U know what happened in Paris,” Simpson responded. “So that goes without saying… No need to be direct.”

 “I could imagine an undercover agent thinking it was just the hyperbolic rhetoric they are participating in, and it wasn’t an intent to go to texas and do harm.”

— Michael German, a former FBI agent now at the Brennan Center for Justice

That revelation comes amidst a national debate about the use of undercover officers and human sources in terrorism cases. Undercover sources are used in more than half of ISIS-related terror cases, according to statistics kept by the George Washington University Program on Extremism, and civil liberties advocates say some of those charged might not have escalated their behavior without those interventions.

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“The affidavit raises a lot more questions than it answers, and I would hope that overseers within congress and the Justice Department would want to take a hard look at the scope of this investigation.”

“It would certainly be inappropriate for an FBI undercover agent or cooperating witness to provoke or inspire or urge a person to commit an act of violence,” Michael German, a former FBI agent now at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Daily Beast. “I could imagine an undercover agent thinking it was just the hyperbolic rhetoric they are participating in, and it wasn’t an intent to go to texas and do harm.”

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Beast]

“The affidavit raises a lot more questions than it answers, and I would hope that overseers within congress and the Justice Department would want to take a hard look at the scope of this investigation,” he added.

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The texts were included in the indictment, released Thursday of Erick Jamal Hendricks of Charlotte, North Carolina. He was charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS. The 35-year-old tried to recruit other Americans to form an ISIS cell on secret compounds and introduced an undercover agent to one of the Draw Muhammad attackers, according to the FBI.

But Hendricks did more than make a connection. According to the court papers, he asked the undercover officer about the Draw Muhammad event’s security, size, and police presence, during the event, according to an affidavit filed in court.

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