Elton Simpson is one of the two men who fired assault rifles at people gathered for a "Draw Muhammad" event in Garland, Texas before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer; in the weeks leading up to the attack, Simpson had corresponded with an undercover FBI agent who urged him to "Tear up Texas."
When a Daily Beast reporter phoned the FBI to ask about the message, the FBI spokeswoman Carol Cratty hung up on her.
This is the latest in a string of domestic terror incidents that involved undercover agents and informants who provided encouragement, plans, and even weapons to would-be terrorists.
"It would certainly be inappropriate for an FBI undercover agent or cooperating witness to provoke or inspire or urge a person to commit an act of violence," Michael German, a former FBI agent now at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Daily Beast. "I could imagine an undercover agent thinking it was just the hyperbolic rhetoric they are participating in, and it wasn't an intent to go to Texas and do harm.
"The affidavit raises a lot more questions than it answers, and I would hope that overseers within Congress and the Justice Department would want to take a hard look at the scope of this investigation," he added.
The texts were included in the indictment, released Thursday, of Erick Jamal Hendricks of Charlotte, North Carolina. He was charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS. The 35-year-old tried to recruit other Americans to form an ISIS cell on secret compounds and introduced an undercover agent to one of the Draw Muhammad attackers, according to the FBI.
Affidavit in Support of an Application for a Criminal Complaint and Arrest Warrant [Shawn Scott Hare/FBI]
[Katie Zavadski/Daily Beast]
(via The Intercept)