FBI Passed on Bomb-Plot Case Over Entrapment Fears

Sources question whether Jose Pimentel could have built a bomb without help

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 22, 2011 11:44 AM CST

(Newser) – The NYPD tried more than once to bring the FBI on board its investigation of alleged would-be terrorist Jose Pimentel, but the bureau passed each time because it didn’t think Pimentel was a threat without help he received from the NYPD, according to new reports. In the FBI’s eyes, Pimentel “didn't have the predisposition or the ability to do anything on his own,” one official told the AP yesterday.

The seemingly unstable (he reportedly tried to circumcise himself) and broke (he was staying with his uncle) Pimentel relied on an NYPD confidential informer for help in constructing his bombs, sources tell the New York Times, and without him the FBI doubts he would have had even the minimal money or know-how necessary to do so. To wit, the Times reports that Pimentel initially struggled just to drill holes into the tubing he allegedly used. Two sources said the FBI was worried about entrapment issues, but an NYPD spokesman downplayed the reports. "I’ve never heard that issue about the CI at all," he said, suggesting the sources were "not particularly familiar with the case."

A mock-up of a pipe bomb is displayed during a news conference at City Hall called by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, in New York.   (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)
Jose Pimentel is arraigned at Manhattan criminal court, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, in New York.   (AP Photo/Jefferson Siegel, Pool)
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