August 14, 2003
ABC News

U.S. Government Sting Operation Criticized as Setup

by Brian Ross

Administration officials are leaving out key facts and exaggerating the significance of the alleged plot to smuggle a shoulder-launched missile into the United States, law enforcement officials told ABCNEWS. . . .

For example, Lakhani had no contacts in Russia to buy the missiles before the sting and had no known criminal record for arms dealing, officials told ABCNEWS.

"Here we have a sting operation on some kind of small operator . . . who's bought one weapon when actually, on the gray and black market, hundreds of such weapons charge hands," said military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.

Court documents show much of the case is based on the government's key cooperating witness, an informant seeking lenient treatment on federal drug charges, officials told ABCNEWS. He was the first person who led the government to Lakhani.

The missile shipped into the New York area last month was not a real missile - just a mockup - also arranged entirely by the government. . . .

Government officials said the case will show that Lakhani went along with the scheme willingly and was not entrapped. But the question remains whether any of this would have happened if the government had not set it up.


David Johnston and Philip Shenon, "U.S. Holds Briton on Missile Charge," New York Times, August 13, 2003

[An American Jew was among three suspects nabbed for allegedly attempting to smuggle a missile to terror groups operating inside the United States in order to down commercial aircraft. . . .

Two other suspected accomplices to the plot, inlcuding Yehuda Abraham, who is Jewish, face conspiracy charges, . . .--"U.S. Jew among 3 nabbed in plot to smuggle missile," Reuters, August 13, 2003]

[. . . several companies, including an Israeli group, Rafael, have begun to market competing versions of the anti-missile system. . . .

Retrofitting all 6,000 planes in the American commercial fleet with electronic countermeasures could cost up to $10 billion.

And that's exactly what Sen. Schumer and some of his colleagues are proposing to pay for in a new bill.-- "Small, Cheap And Deadly," 60 Minutes, August 17, 2003]

Bradley Graham, "Pentagon admits missile shield may not work - but it may be vote winner," New York Times, March 13, 2004

back button