FBI Terrorism Stings: Two Decades of National Security Theater

The Intercept

Since 9/11 the FBI has used a tactic that often entraps people who pose no substantial risk — but rarely stops real threats.

An American ISIS Fighter Describes the Caliphate’s Final Days — and His Own

The Intercept

I’d been communicating with Russell Dennison almost daily for more than six months when his messages suddenly stopped coming.

Dennison was a devout Muslim. He believed the time and place of his death were predetermined, that if a bomb were meant for him, it would kill him, regardless of anything he might do to avoid it. That bomb found him in the spring of 2019 in Baghuz, a small village in eastern Syria near the border with Iraq. I learned of his death months later, after a witness told Dennison’s Syrian wife, and she told me.

A red-bearded American who was raised Catholic in the Pennsylvania suburbs, Dennison was among the first Americans to join the Islamic State, or ISIS. I had initially tried to contact him in 2014, after hearing rumors that he’d left the United States to fight in the Syrian civil war. For years, I received no response. Then in August 2018 — after fleeing Raqqa as U.S.-led coalition forces approached ISIS’s de facto capital — Dennison emailed me. He wanted to talk.


Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit takes you inside the shadowy world of FBI informants and counterterrorism sting operations.

Following the 9/11 attacks, the FBI set about to recruit a network of more than 15,000 informants.

Al Jazeera’s investigative film tells the stories of three paid FBI informants who posed as Muslims as they searched for people interested in joining violent plots concocted by the FBI.

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