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.
An FBI trainer suggested in an interview with “60 Minutes” that, had the attack been bigger, the agency’s numerous ties to the shooter would have led to a congressional investigation.
As lurid as this sounds, it fits with the findings of human rights organizations, which have noted the FBI has a long history of pushing Muslim Americans into alleged terror plots they might not have otherwise been engaged in or connected to.
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.
“In looking into what happened in Garland, we were surprised to discover just how close the FBI was to one of the terrorists,” “60 Minutes” said in its March 26 broadcast, titled “Attack in Garland.” “Not only had the FBI been monitoring him for years, there was an undercover agent right behind him when the first shots were fired.”