More government waste–doing the wrong things at great expense.
Elaborate, expensive sting operations by the FBI are based on the premise that true terrorists will take the bait. This is not the same thing as preventing an actual attack.
Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, FBI Director Robert Mueller issued a memo to his field offices detailing “one set of priorities” for the agency: Stop the next terrorist attack. This directive marked a new “preemptive” style of law enforcement that has since become the hallmark of our domestic front in the war against terrorism.
Under this system, catching an actual terrorist would constitute a failure because the perpetrators would have committed the act. Instead, we are in effect seeking “pre-terrorists” — individuals whose intentions, more than their actions, constitute the primary threat.
Taking stock of the major “terrorist” prosecutions that this approach has yielded, however, it’s not at all clear we’re safer from another attack.