May Counter-Terrorism Officials Fake Radicalism?

In certain covert ops, infiltrated informants can assume positions and perform actions, having entered an unconstitutional group (or in relation to persons in connection with such groups), which are liable under normal circumstances and for any regular citizen. However, all actions within the operation must occur proportionally. Since this is not always the case, a strong share of awareness and avoidance of criminal behavior is required of the informant.

Can faking extremism be justified within an intervention? Does such an intervention, in a specific case, confirm the actual circumstances within the radical group? Are the words of an informant a mere litmus test meant to try the observed – or do they reach beyond?

There have been cases where an informant has dominated and distorted the ideology and mode of operation within a radical group. If so, the authorities in charge of the operation are to intervene, imposing red lines, or to discontinue the relationship with the informant or person acting as a provocateur.

Should such an intervention be omitted, the institutions would render themselves significant protagonists of the unconstitutional group or the linked person and part of their endeavors, and dangerously so.

Thorsten Koch, MA, PgDip
22 November 2020

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