Much Redacted Opinion Released in Terror Case

     CHICAGO (CN) – A heavily redacted 7th Circuit opinion sheds little new light on FBI surveillance of Adel Daoud, a Chicago man who allegedly tried to explode a bomb in downtown Chicago.
     Last month, the 7th Circuit ruled that defense counsel for a 20-year-old Adel Daoud may not have access to the secret warrant applications that permitted FBI surveillance of their client.
     “Terrorism is not a chimera,” Judge Richard Posner wrote for the panel. “With luck Daoud might have achieved his goal of indiscriminately killing hundreds of Americans – whom he targeted because, as he explained in an email, civilians both ‘pay their taxes which fund the government’s war on Islam’ and ‘vote for the leaders who kill us every day.'”
     Daoud, a U.S. citizen, was contacted online by undercover FBI agents posing as terrorists, and he expressed interest in committing violent jihad attacks in the United States.
     As recounted in the opinion, one of his FBI correspondents put him in touch with a “cousin” – another agent posing as a radical jihadist – whom Daoud met in person six times, and who supplied Daoud with a fake bomb to destroy the target of his choice.
     Daoud parked a jeep containing the bomb in front of a bar in downtown Chicago, and tried to detonate the bomb in the presence of the agent, who immediately arrested him, Posner wrote.
     In its June opinion, the Chicago-based circuit court promised to issue a classified opinion explaining the reasoning behind its conclusion.
     The court issued a heavily redacted version of the classified opinion on Tuesday, which does not provide much additional information on the events leading up to Daoud’s arrest.
     The description of how the FBI initially became aware of Daoud’s radical politics is completely blacked out, as are the details of the FBI’s subsequent investigation, which actively pursued Daoud as a potential terrorist.
     The judgment does confirm that Comcast complied with an FBI subpoena to match Daoud’s IP address with his residence in Hillside, Illinois.
     Posner also explains that “FISA doesn’t require the government to show probable cause to believe that the target of the proposed surveillance may be engaged in criminal activity; rather, it requires only probably cause to believe that the target is an ‘agent of a foreign power.’ The term is somewhat misleading; an ‘agent of a foreign power’ needn’t be a KGB spy. Rather anyone – even if a United States citizen – who ‘knowingly engages in … international terrorism, or in activities that are in preparation therefore, for or on behalf of’ a ‘group engaged in international terrorism’ qualifies.”

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