Kent State terrorism expert puts perspective on Brecksville bridge bomb plot

Professor questions federal gov't trap

CLEVELAND - Kent State University political science professor Chris Banks has authored chapters and books on terrorism, 9/11 and the Patriot Act.

The terrorism expert said investigations like that into the Brecksville bridge bomb plot are important for public safety, but risk going off track Banks said the five defendants are probably not anarchists or domestic terrorists.

"I just think they were a disaffected angry people, a lost group filled with anger," Banks said.

Banks said aimless, angry groups can be fueled with rage as national movements like "Occupy" now linger.

"When you have protests ongoing in the United States that tap into that sort of anger, especially in an era of political division like the one we're in now, it makes more sense you'll see plots like this uncovered and perhaps stopped," Banks said.

Banks said it's good the defendants were stopped for public safety, but also said one could question the extensive means used by federal investigators to set the trap.

"A fair amount of enticement by the use of confidential informants and plants within this group to try to solicit information that they were doing something and I think one could argue, if you're being a critic, that is being a little coerce or almost entrapping these defendants into a situation in that once they went down that path they couldn't really stop," Banks said.

Banks said making an example of the group sends a message that the government is taking tips about potentially violent groups and their plots seriously, and that could lead to tips about even more organized, more dangerous cells.

"If you really going back to what 9/11 was all about, it was an embarrassment to the government. So it's always good for the government to have high visibility prosecutions and arrests at certain times in history and this might be one of them," Banks said.

Banks said when plots like this are uncovered it's makes people nervous at first. But in the long run results in a calmness that something is being done.

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Brecksville bridge bomb plot

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