On Friday the Justice Department said it busted two Wisconsin men who wanted to travel to Iraq and Syria and join the Islamic State.
Jason Michael Ludke, 35, and Yosvany Padylla-Conde, 30, both from Milwaukee, were arrested near San Angelo, Texas, allegedly while trying to travel to Mexico where they intended to acquire documents necessary to travel overseas to join Islamic State, the department said in a news release.
FBI informants were involved:
The complaint, which provides an FBI agent’s affidavit and was filed in federal court in Milwaukee, said an undercover FBI agent received a friend request on a social media platform from Ludke and he expressed his intentions to travel through Syria and into Iraq.
It’s no secret the FBI is all over social media. The agency creates fake social media accounts and lures in targets with a practice called “cat fishing.” It also manufactures phony online personas. The FBI also draws in targets with “honeypot” Facebook pages. (See the fake “Sondra” Facebook profile.) In 2010 the FBI admitted it creates fake Facebook “friend” accounts.
The FBI cites national security and refuses to disclose details on its social media program. Past operations include COINTELPRO, a massive program that infiltrated, undermined, and “neutralized” political enemies in the 1960s and 70s. More recently the federal government coordinated with state and local officials to destroy the Occupy Wall Street movement.
A former FBI undercover operative told the Guardian the idea is to set-up and entrap people. A study by Human Rights Watch found that agents work to overcome their targets’ stated objections to actively participating in terrorism.