Gov't Appeals Tounisi Bail Order, Bail Order Revoked

Yesterday, 18 year old Abdella Tounisi, the latest terror sting victim of the FBI, was ordered released on bail by a U.S. Magistrate Court Judge. The Government immediately appealed to the District Court Judge who today reversed the Magistrate Court Judge. Tounisi will remain in custody.

Here's the story if you haven't been following the case. [More...]

Pre-trial Services had recommended release on bond. The Magistrate Judge ordered Tunisi released on a $50,000 unsecured bond with conditions of home confinement and electronic monitoring. His father was appointed to serve as a third-party custodian.

One factor the District Court judge relied on in revoking the release order was that Tounisi's parents had confiscated his passport to prevent him from traveling to Syria, after which Tounisi applied for new passport claiming his was "lost." Also, there were wiretaps of calls on which his mother begged him to return the plane ticket and not go to Syria, telling him he would be "road kill" not a martyr.

Of course, since Tounisi had made plans only with an FBI undercover agent through a fake recruiting website set up by the FBI, he wasn't really going anywhere. As I wrote in my earlier post, after Tounisi took the FBI's bait, instead of advising him on the best way to to get his plane ticket to Turkey and then providing him with a bus ticket to continue the journey once he got to Turkey, wouldn't it have been better for the FBI to respond with a warning, such as:

You have fallen for a trap. We are the FBI. We will now be watching every move you make. We urge you to abandon whatever plans you are contemplating and read the following statute: 18 U.S.C., 18 USC 2339, Providing Material Support to Terrorists. It carries a 15 year prison sentence. It applies to those who would travel abroad to assist organizations the U.S. has declared to be terrorist organizations. Here is a list of those organizations.

It is not too late to change your mind. You are a U.S. citizen in college with a bright future. Please reconsider. Again, we will be watching you closely from this point forward.

The Government has filed a notice of intent to introduce FISA surveillance in the case. They had wiretaps on his and/or his parents phones. Had they responded with a warning at his first contact with the fake recruiter, they would have found out immediately if he subsequently made contact with real terrorist recruiters and continued to make plans. Had they proceeded that way, maybe they could have caught a real terrorist recruiter, which would be a much more significant catch than this 18 year old.

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  • Display: Sort:
    This sounds like crazy making. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Tamta on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:23:03 AM EST
    On top of all of the other details in this 'case', isn't the American government  holding a similar adjective as Al-Nusra: to take down Assad????

    There is no get out of jail card free in the war. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Kemah on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:34:54 AM EST
    Once people become true believers, a warning is not going to change their mind. You can see that with people constantly being arrested for their cause. Civil rights, abortion clinic protesters, environmentalists, religious groups. True believers are going to stay the course. Just think of the manpower needed to monitor him and then there is the chance that he will slip away and go lone wolf.