Recent alleged terror plots reveal deeply troubling patterns in the FBI’s practices.

Since 9/11, the FBI and NYPD have solved dozens of terror plots that its own agents and assets manufactured, including some against synagogues. Even if the plots were less than real, the foiled “attacks” have greatly impacted both the defendants and their alleged victims, spreading fear among Jewish-Americans and triggering panicked reports about heightened threat against Jews.

The arrest this April of James Medina, a recent convert to Islam with an extensive criminal history, may be the latest evidence of the disturbing practice. An FBI affidavit showed an FBI source suggesting that Medina bomb the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center in Hollywood, Florida on a Jewish holiday.

The source even encouraged Medina to claim the attack in the name of ISIS—a group he had no affiliation to. “Yeah, we can print up… something and make it look like it’s ISIS here in America,” Medina said, one of a series of statements evincing an erratic mental state.

“Aventura, watch your back,” he continued. “ISIS is in the house.”

The FBI ultimately gave Medina a fake bomb and arrested him. He is now on trial for planning to commit an act of terror with a weapon of mass destruction, a charge that could land the 40-year-old in prison for life.

Although there is still much to be known about Medina’s case, it appears to be part of a broader pattern. Before his arrest, there were several other Muslim men, most of whom had mental illnesses or developmental disabilities, who were drawn into FBI dragnets and encouraged by federal law enforcement agents to attack Jewish institutions.

Among the most shocking cases was that of Ahmed Ferhani, a young, clinically bipolar Muslim teen currently serving a 10-year sentence in prison for terrorism-related charges.


“The synagogue bomber,” that’s what his lawyer, Lamis Deek, remembers the press calling Ahmed Ferhani.

On May 13, 2011, Ferhani and his co-defendant, Mohamed Mamdouh, were arrested and charged with planning to dress up as Hasidic Jews and plant a bomb in a Manhattan synagogue.

Many New York Jews were horrified. “It takes only 1 percent of the people we don’t catch for tragedy to strike our community… We are just so grateful that the police caught it in time,” Rabbi Eli Shifrin of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad sect told the Bayside-Douglaston Patch after Ferhani and Mamdou were arrested.

But as with most domestic terrorism cases, especially those supposed plots in which undercover cops or informants play a role, the truth was much more complicated than it first seemed.

In an interview with AlterNet, Deek explained how it was the undercover NYPD detective—and not the defendants—who introduced the idea of bombing the synagogue, and manipulated the vulnerable, clinically bipolar Ferhani into making anti-Semitic remarks.