It’s perhaps one of the biggest, and most underreported, stories of the last few years. It involves two different allegations, the first being that the FBI allowed a terrorist attack to happen. More damning still, the second is that the FBI actually encouraged it. And now a man injured in the attack is suing the bureau.
The incident was the jihadist attack on the “Draw Mohammed” free-speech event in Garland, Texas, in 2015. The plaintiff is the security guard wounded in the gunfire, Bruce Joiner, who charges that an FBI agent “solicited, encouraged, directed and aided members of ISIS in planning and carrying out the…attack,” court documents relate.
Joiner appeared on the Wednesday edition of the Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight with his attorney, Trenton Roberts, who laid out his case. It’s a damning one, too. As host Carlson explained while referencing the two jihadist attackers, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, who were clad in body armor, armed with assault rifles and inspired by ISIS:
Fortunately, they were both killed by police before killing anyone else. But it easily could have been a massacre, and it would have been thanks — believe it or not — to the FBI. An undercover agent egged on those attackers. He traveled with the to the attack site and then fled when the attack began. No effort was made by the FBI to stop the terrorists, and no warning was given to local police [video below].
Organized by anti-jihad crusaders Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, the Garland contest was a thoroughly politically incorrect affair. Depicting Mohammed critically (or at all) had already led to violent protests worldwide; a cartoonist having to go into hiding; and, most notably, the massacre that killed 12 at the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
It was this, in a world rife with mockery of Christian symbols (a crucifix immersed in a bowl of urine comes to mind), that inspired Spencer and Geller to strike what they billed as a blow for free speech by hosting their draw-Mohammed contest. Yet they received no mainstream support, with even then-presidential candidate Donald Trump calling the effort “dumb.”
Dumb, brilliant or bold, it was not illegal — which, some contend, cannot be said of the FBI’s actions. Here’s what we know:
• Days before attacking the Garland event, ISIS sympathizer Simpson was sent a message by the undercover FBI agent reading, “Tear up Texas.”
• “The FBI helped the terrorists obtain a weapon that was used in the attack by lifting a hold during a background check,” according to the court filing.
• The agent, again, did not notify police of the impending attack; this could have led to the deaths of the on-site officers.
• The agent was present in a car behind the jihadists as they approached the event yet made no attempt to thwart the attack. He merely took a picture of the precise spot of the shooting — seconds before it began — and tried to flee the scene. He was subsequently stopped by local police and only then revealed that he was an undercover FBI operative.
• The FBI has not revealed the identity of the agent.
The government’s defense for the “Tear up Texas” remark seems to be that the agent was just playing the part of a jihadist, as it claims the comment was “innocuous.” Robert Spencer presents a more damning interpretation, wondering if the FBI wanted him and Geller dead. Spencer would later be the victim of an unrelated May 2017 poisoning in Iceland, in what apparently was an attempted assassination.
Spencer theorizes that the FBI’s motive wasn’t entrapment, as Simpson and Soofi were devoted jihadists bent on mayhem; he states that the pair was considering many different targets but that the FBI steered them toward the Texas event, which was also attended by colorful Dutch anti-Islamization politician Geert Wilders.
As Spencer asked last March, what “was the FBI’s game in telling them to [target Garland]? Why didn’t they have a phalanx of agents in place, ready to stop the attack? Or did they want the attack to succeed, so that Barack Obama’s vow that ‘the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam’ would be vividly illustrated, and intimidate any other Americans who might be contemplating defending the freedom of speech into silence?”
Joiner, the only victim of the Garland attack (he was shot in the leg), also wants to know — and his suit may help in that regard. Filed last year and asking $8 million in damages, “the case could shake loose hundreds of documents from both local and federal officials about what happened that day,” reported the Washington Examiner in October.
As for the reasons, Joiner’s attorney, Roberts, has his own theory. He says that either it was just “a complete botched operation where they [the FBI] don't want the attack to actually take place, or, it's something where they need the attack to take place in order for this guy [the agent] to advance in the world of ISIS,” the Examiner related.
Whatever the case, Roberts told Carlson on Wednesday that the FBI stated the agent was not a “rogue” actor, that he behaved in accordance with directives. Moreover, Roberts claims that then-FBI director James Comey — already accused of sweeping Hillary Clinton’s email scandal under the rug — lied to cover up his agency’s Garland actions.
Roberts told Carson that shortly after the attack, Comey said that the terrorists “were like needles in a haystack; in no way were they on the radar of the FBI.” However, Elton Simpson had in fact “been followed, had been monitored for years by the FBI [and] hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent investigating [him],” he continued. The terrorists were also “seemingly escorted” by the agent on the fateful day, stated Roberts.
Carlson said it was shocking to think the FBI would be involved in something such as this. As for Joiner, who is ex-law enforcement, he remarked that “this is not how you run undercover anything; you have to have control of the situation and make sure no innocent people are harmed.... This is not normal.”
It certainly is not. The only question is whether it also was evil.
Photo of crime scene outside venue hosting “Draw Mohammed’ event: AP Images