“His response was to fight it with the only weapons at hand—passive resistance and open displays of contempt.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
In the case of Robert Childs, FBI informant, agent provocateur AND twice-convicted child molester, all of the above are true. And, after all that, he still lives under a bridge in Florida, one of the most backwards, perverted, incestuous, corrupt states in America; and it is no doubt even more heinous in regards to child molesters named Childs.
“If you can’t trust the FBI,”he reasons, “who can you trust?”
TO CATCH THE DEVIL
IN 2011, A SEX OFFENDER AND ONETIME JIHADI WANNABE HELPED SNARE A SUSPECTED TERRORIST—AND WAS PROMISED $100,000 IN RETURN. IN THE SORDID WORLD OF FBI INFORMANTS, THAT’S THE PRICE OF DOING BUSINESS.
BY TREVOR AARONSON
On an otherwise ordinary night in May 2011, Robert Childs realized his friend, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, might be on the verge of becoming a terrorist. The two men, who attended a Seattle mosque together, ate fried chicken at Abdul-Latif’s small apartment with his wife and young son. Afterward, Abdul-Latif walked Childs to the dimly lit parking lot outside his building, where his guest’s orange 1979 Chevy Suburban was sitting.
There, he posed a startling question: Could Childs help him get some guns?
Abdul-Latif said he wanted to carry out an attack inspired by the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, in which Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people. But unlike Hasan, who acted alone, he was looking for associates. “I already have a guy that wants to do it, if you want to come in with it,” Childs recalls Abdul-Latif saying.
A skinny white man with close-cropped brown hair, Childs, then 35, had previously boasted to Abdul-Latif about his skill with guns. His father had been a Marine, and Childs had trained with pistols and rifles at a military boarding school. By contrast, 33-year-old Abdul-Latif, who kept his black scalp shaved and beard full, had limited experience with firearms. He’d once held up a 7-Eleven with two plastic toy guns and had served three years in prison for the robbery.
Hoping to drive away quickly, Childs told me, “I didn’t give him a yes or no that night.” He wasn’t going to help his friend, but he was worried about the startling request nonetheless. What if Abdul-Latif committed a crime with guns he got elsewhere? Could Childs be implicated for not informing police about their conversation? A convicted rapist and child molester, Childs had already served three stints behind bars—a total of nine years. Recently released, he was trying to turn over a new leaf.
Childs set up a meeting with Samuel DeJesus, a detective with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and told him about the encounter. According to Childs, DeJesus asked him whether he would help authorities build a case against Abdul-Latif. “What do you want in return?” DeJesus added. “I wanted my whole record wiped off,” Childs recollects. The SPD, he claims, gave him the impression it could make that happen. (DeJesus declined to comment for this article.)
Within a matter of days, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) entered the picture. Abdul-Latif had popped up on the bureau’s radar after he posted several videos on YouTube that April and May, showing him criticizing Western society and insisting that peace could never be made with non-Muslims.
When the FBI learned about Childs’s information, a result of the SPD’s involvement in a joint homeland security effort with the bureau, agents met with him and said they would be working on the case. Childs was happy to oblige the power move. “If you can’t trust the FBI,” he reasoned, “who can you trust?” And so he became part of the FBI’s post-9/11 counterterrorism apparatus; comprising more than 15,000 informants, it is the largest domestic spying network in U.S. history.
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