Booker repeatedly discussed his intentions to perform jihad with the two FBI informants in the following months, leading up to Friday’s end when Booker attempted to detonate the inert bomb. Booker filmed a video of himself to be played after his death, during which he swears bay’ah, or allegiance, to IS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.
According to the complaint, the FBI informants provided a list of explosive materials to Booker, and also assembled the explosives at his request. Booker made it clear that he wished to detonate the explosion himself, so the FBI informants demonstrated how to arm the device.
Last summer, the Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute released a report detailing 27 federal terrorism cases from initiation to post-conviction. In some cases, individuals had no history of terrorist acts, and were considered to be “law-abiding citizens” before the initiation of sting operations. Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of the report, said in a release:
Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US . . . But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.
A case similar to Booker’s arose in 2012 when a Chicago suburban teen, Adel Daoud, was driven by FBI informants to a downtown location to detonate a bomb. At the time, he was not part of a terrorist organization, nor did was any group attempting to recruit him. Al Jazeera reported that Chicago’s Muslim communities were shocked by the arrest, and questioned the FBI’s tactics.