In May 2015 two Muslim men drove from Phoenix to Garland, Texas (outside Dallas). Their intent was to attack a Draw Mohammad event and kill as many attendees as they could. Instead, they were shot and killed by security police as they attempted to charge into the facility.
CNN's Anderson Cooper has now come out with a TV presentation this week that alleges that an undercover FBI agent had been involved with the suspects and was actually riding in a car behind them as they arrived at the venue. It is based largely on an interview with an attorney representing a third man believed to be involved in the planning. The attorney says he was provided with FBI documents that divulged the role of an FBI "undercover agent".
In response to this revelation, Robert Spencer, a noted critic of Islam and one of the co-sponsors of the event, has told an interviewer from Newsmax that, in his opinion, the FBI wanted him and his colleague, Pam Geller dead.
I have no inside information on this, and like everyone else, this is news to me. It is too early to come to a definitive conclusion, but as a retired DEA agent, I do have some immediate reactions.
First of all, when the CBS report refers to "an FBI undercover agent", I don't preclude the possibility that this could actually be an FBI informant. The news media has long had a habit of not differentiating between the two. There is a significant difference.
Secondly, I find it absolutely incredible that the FBI would allow the suspects to get to the convention center and begin the attack without taking them down beforehand at some point when the conspiracy was complete and the case could be proved. This was, in fact, a conspiracy between at least two men. In conspiracy law, the crime is complete when an agreement to break the law has been made and one or more of the co- conspirators commits an overt act (legal or illegal) in furtherance of the conspiracy. Obtaining the weapons would be an example and beginning the journey to Garland would be another. It seems clear that if an FBI agent was following them in another car, they could have been arrested at any point say when they stopped to eat along the way. If an FBI agent were actually in a following car, there would also be surveilling agents following as well, and the situation would be "under control". Letting it continue to the convention center and allowing the terrorists to alight with their weapons would be totally irresponsible in terms of public safety. Even if the FBI wanted them to reach the venue, it would seem obvious that a massive trap would have been awaiting them. As it was, the terrorists were shot and killed by local security police.
Something clearly doesn't add up here.
Is it possible that the mystery man was actually some sort of informant who had not alerted the FBI as to what was happening? Given the circumstances, that seems plausible. Use of informants, while necessary, is always risky and must be accompanied by maximum control.
As to Robert Spencer's allegations that the FBI actually wanted him and Geller dead, I have a hard time accepting that. Besides, there were 100 other people inside that building attending the event. Who knows how many would have died if those two men actually got inside the building?