PROTECTING AMERICA FROM
The Case of the Undercover
dealer with the fake missile
this scenario: a British national
who had praised the attacks of 9/11/01 and
wanted to sell weapons to terrorists...contacts
a known extremist wanted for bomb blasts
in India...gets the name of a potential
buyer claiming to represent a Somalian
terrorist group...travels all over Russia,
the Ukraine, and Cyprus to find and order
50 shoulder-fired missiles for that extremist
to use in blasting U.S. airplanes out of
the sky...meets the buyer several times
in New Jersey to seal the deal...and
asks for payment to be wired to accounts
in Hong Kong and Switzerland.
to the world of twenty-first century global
crime and terror.
only one way to stop an international plot
like this: with the same kind of global
reach and sophistication—specifically,
by tapping into a network of law enforcement
and security partners across the globe.
how the weapons dealer was caught, ultimately
convicted, and sentenced to prison:
missile buyer was actually a U.S. government
informant who contacted us after hearing
from the dealer and who agreed to help us
catch the dealer in an undercover sting.
intelligence revealed that the dealer planned
to export the surface-to-air missiles from
Russia. Our agents flew to Moscow and met
with representatives of the Russian Federal
Security Service, or FSB, which already
knew about the dealer and had begun its
own investigation. A joint operation was
the dealer traveled to Moscow and then to
St. Petersburg to meet with missile suppliers,
FBI and FSB agents conducted surveillance
together. At the first meeting, two undercover
FSB officers posed as the suppliers...and
showed the dealer what appeared to be an
actual surface-to-air missile. As FBI agents
listened in, the dealer bought the missile
and ordered 50 more.
dealer sent the faux missile to the U.S.
He then met with our undercover informant
four times near Newark, New Jersey, to finalize
the sale. In the last meeting on August
12, 2003, he recommended our undercover
buyer use the missiles in simultaneous strikes.
"It will shake them," he said.
"They will run. They will think the
war has started." FSB agents were listening
in the next room and were there for the
dealer's arrest moments later.
the same time, we were working with other
law enforcement partners in the U.K., India,
and elsewhere to run down investigative
leads around the world.
the trial, representatives of New Scotland
Yard and the FSB testified—the first
time FSB officers had ever offered testimony
in U.S. federal court. The weapons dealer
was convicted by jury and sentenced to 47
years in prison on September 12.
to growing global law enforcement partnerships,
potentially disastrous terrorist attacks
on U.S. soil were prevented...and a terrorist
supporter was taken off the streets.
More and more, when it comes to fighting
crime and terror, it is a small world, after
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