Geraldo: Baltimore Bomber Is Just a 'Gullible Youngster'

Geraldo Rivera appeared on The O’Reilly Factor Wednesday night to argue that Mohammed Hussein, the man who attempted to bomb a military recruitment center in Catonsville, Maryland, was entrapped by the FBI.  For a reporter who claims to strongly support the military (when he isn’t giving military positions away on the air in a war zone), this position comes as something of a shock.


(via Blogmocracy)

It’s tempting to see Rivera’s position through a racial lens. In the clip he attributes not only the Baltimore plot, but also the Sears Tower plot and  a couple of others to “entrapment,” but to my knowledge it’s only after this plot emerged that Geraldo adopted the “entrapment” line.  And here’s the thing: Hussein’s name prior to his conversion to Islam was Antonio Martinez. Rivera is famously and aggressively pro-illegal immigration, which he routinely casts as a racial struggle.  He even wrote a book about it, ingeniously called HisPanic. See what he did there?  Feel free to supply your own cheesy rim shot.  Martinez is a U.S. citizen, but the racial logic seems to apply here as well.

Here’s why I say that: There’ s no reasonable way at this point to see Hussein as “entrapped” regarding the military recruitment center plot.  The evidence that’s available so far says Hussein is a garden variety terrorist wannabe, leaving us to search for another explanation for Rivera’s peculiar stance.

Point number 1: Hussein went on Facebook and mouthed off against the U.S. military. Robert Spencer has the details:

The source told CBS that he had been “mouthing off” to friends and “wanted to retaliate against the military for the wars,” and when others heard about it, “they wanted nothing to do with it.”

Mouthing off of course is not a crime, but making threats against the military will bring attention your way. And think about that last line. That’s other Muslims who read his rants against the U.S. military and wanted nothing to do with it. So is Hussein/Martinez really just “gullible,” or is he an aggressor?

Point 2: Hussein is also a jihadist.

A 21-year-old construction worker who had recently converted to Islam and told an FBI informant he thought about nothing but jihad was arrested Wednesday when he tried to detonate what he thought was a bomb at a military recruitment center, authorities said. …

According to court documents, he has been on the FBI’s radar screen since October, when he told a confidential FBI source he wanted to attack and kill military personnel.

Does that sound “gullible”?  It doesn’t to me.

Point 3: Hussein hates non-Muslims and those who “oppress” Muslims.

“An affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges that on September 29, 2010, Martinez publicly posted on his Facebook account a statement calling for violence to stop the oppression of Muslims, and that on Oct. 1, 2010, he publicly posted a message stating that he hates any person who opposes Allah and his prophet,” a Justice Department statement said.

What the FBI seems to have done in this case is pick up on the possibility of a Muslim convert on the verge of “Sudden Jihad Syndrome,” and they worked to determine the extent of the threat, and then they found a way to neutralize it, saving lives and bagging a terrorist.

Isn’t this what we want the post 9-11 FBI to do?

To accuse them of “entrapping” a “gullible” youth based on the available evidence is a huge stretch. Not only does it damage what’s left of Rivera’s own credibility, it injects race into what ought to be a purely national security story. Geraldo seems to be in a tizzy to defend a fellow Hispanic, when no one cares about that at all. No one is saying that Hussein did this because he’s Hispanic, nor even that it’s because a Muslim.  It’s because he’s a jihadist.  His own violent, jihadist comments earned him the FBI’s glare, and his own violent ambitions led him to try to detonate that inert bomb.  You can’t entrap someone to do that.  People care about the fact the he wanted to kill U.S. military personnel and recruits on American soil, and he was thwarted, both by the vigilant FBI and by his own fellow Muslims. That’s all to the good.

Geraldo is beclowning himself.  Again.