This certainly isn’t the first terror case handled by the NYPD that’s sparked concern over entrapment. Back during the Herald Square bomb case, the claims were never substantiated, and a jury found the perp guilty.
From the sound of it, the NYPD has more than enough for a strong case against Jose Pimental. But the New York Times is still raising the question:
But it was the informer’s role, and that of his police handlers, that have now been cited as among the reasons the FBI, which had its own parallel investigation of Mr. Pimentel, did not pursue the case, which was announced on Sunday night in a news conference at City Hall. Terrorism cases are generally handled by federal authorities.
There was concern that the informer might have played too active a role in helping Mr. Pimentel, said several people who were briefed on the case, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity, either because of the tense relations between the Intelligence Division and the FBI or because the case was continuing.
The left is constantly seeing entrapment in cases like these, so any claims have to be taken with a serious grain of salt. But the fact that the FBI is keeping its distance from this case is a big red flag, especially since it sounds like the evidence against Pimentel would typically make this a slam-dunk. Even if there was an overeager informer involved, the NYPD had little choice but to go forward with the arrest once it found evidence that Pimentel was almost finished building the bombs, both for legal reasons and for public safety.
There could have been other timing incentives, too. After the recent explosive Associated Press series on the NYPD’s controversial surveillance of Muslim communities, there was likely pressure on the department to cough up some evidence for why this program was necessary. Pimentel, a self-radicalized Muslim convert, was reportedly under police surveillance for two years before his arrest. His case is another reminder the terror threat hasn’t disappeared.
Liberals are quick to shout entrapment in terror cases. There’s a good chance it will once again turn out to be baseless. But if evidence shows the informer in the case was aggressive to the point of entrapment, it could end up doing severe damage to future terror investigations and the credibility of the NYPD.