The first attack on U.S. soil for which ISIS claimed responsibility—a 2015 shooting in Garland, Texas—was instigated by the FBI, according to an investigation by CBS' "60 Minutes" and government documents obtained by an attorney involved in the case.
In a macabre twist, an undercover FBI agent who encouraged one of the shooters to "tear up Texas" was also physically present at the scene of the crime, mere feet away from the shooters.
Prior to that, a separate informant was paid $132,000 by the FBI to pretend for three years to be friends with the future shooter. When the man found out his supposed friend had taped more than 1,500 hours of their conversations on behalf of the intelligence agency, he withdrew from his religious community and eventually fell into online religious extremism.
On May 3, 2015, two Islamist extremist gunmen opened fire at an exhibit for cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in Garland, Texas. The contest featured key figures in the Islamophobia industry, including anti-Muslim demagogue Pamela Geller and extreme-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
The intentionally provocative exhibit was swarming with security, including dozens of police officers, snipers and a SWAT team. The heavily armed attackers injured a security guard outside the building before they were themselves promptly shot by snipers and killed.
ISIS soon after took credit for the shooting. There is no evidence that ISIS organized the attack, but the shooters had been independently radicalized and were inspired by the genocidal extremist group.
In the two years since, the Garland shooting has been used to justify a vast array of anti-Muslim policies and measures.
A new investigation by the investigation team at "60 Minutes," nevertheless, shows that the FBI was deeply implicated in the attack.
After the trial, Maynard was given 60 pages of declassified messages between an undercover FBI agent and one of the shooters, Elton Simpson. These documents showed that, less than three weeks before the attack, the FBI agent had told Simpson to "Tear up Texas."
This "to me was an encouragement to Simpson," the attorney told "60 Minutes." The government denied that the text constituted incitement, but the FBI's involvement did not end there.
"60 Minutes" reported that the U.S. government admitted in an affidavit that the undercover FBI agent also physically "traveled to Garland, Texas, and was present ... at the event."
"I was shocked," Maynard told the news program. "I was shocked that the government hadn't turned this over. I wanted to know when did he get there, why was he there?"
Documents the government gave to the attorney showed that the FBI agent had in fact been in a car behind the two shooters at the time of the attack.
The undercover FBI agent even used his cell phone, several feet away, to film the building's security guard seconds before he was shot by the Islamist extremists.
"It's stunning," Maynard told "60 Minutes." "The idea that he's right there 30 seconds before the attack happens is just incredible to me."
The undercover FBI agent fled the scene of the crime before being stopped at gunpoint and detained by Garland police.
Dabla Deng, the informant, pretended to be Simpson's friend for three years, "60 Minutes" reported. Deng taped more than 1,500 hours of their conversations.
When Simpson "found out that this guy was spying on him, and taping him and then finding out that the government was doing that, I think something clicked in him," recalled Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix. "And the mosque, we couldn't do anything."
"He felt that the mosque had abandoned him?" Anderson Cooper asked.
"Yes. And he felt that a lot of people had abandoned him. And that's why he stopped coming to the mosque," Shami said.
After this, Simpson moved in with his friend Nadir Soofi, who "60 Minutes" noted "had just had a bitter break-up and the pizza parlor he owned was going out of business."
The two alienated men drifted into extremist religious communities online, and were attracted by ISIS recruiters.
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