The United States' domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), is revealed to have rented a villa in Istanbul as a safe house for alleged members of the Daesh terror group, in a case that further proves the bureau's use of entrapment methods.
According to the London-based news outlet Middle East Eye, a veteran undercover FBI operative named Kamran Faridi signed a tenancy agreement and paid the rent for a luxury villa on Istanbul's seafront suburb of Silivri in 2015.
The property was then used as a safe house by several alleged members of Daesh, including a British man named Aine Davis, who is accused of being part of the terror group's cell of British militants labelled the 'Beatles'.
In November that year, Turkish security forces then raided the property arresting the six men hiding inside it. At the time, Turkish authorities hailed the interception of preparations for a major attack in Istanbul.
Almost seven years later, however, the news outlet's report sheds light on the FBI's involvement, citing court papers which show that Turkish prosecutors did not find evidence of any plot but rather that the raid was conducted after the bureau itself tipped-off Turkish authorities about a potential attack.
In a note dated April 2016, the prosecutors stated that "Sufficient evidence could not be obtained to file a public lawsuit… other than the intelligence report of a foreign country, which does not have the quality of evidence".
While it is unknown whether Turkish officials knew of Faridi – the FBI operative – and his work for the bureau, Middle East Eye cited a source familiar with the matter as saying that the FBI approached Turkish officials in February 2016 to offer Turkish intelligence Faridi's undercover services. According to the outlet, however, the officials rejected the proposal due to the operative already having been exposed.
Faridi – a 58-year-old of Pakistani origin who had worked for the FBI as an informant since the mid-1990s and then abroad numerous countries in the bureau's Joint Terrorism Task Force during the two decades of the 'war on terror' – was reportedly fired from his service in 2020. He was then arrested and jailed the following year after sending death threats to his former superiors.
The former operative's activities, however, especially in Istanbul as well as his work while being "loaned out" to other western intelligence agencies, is set to further draw light on the FBI and other agencies' use of "entrapment" methods.
Under such methods, intelligence agencies attract, draw in, and recruit impressionable individuals to criminal or terrorist groups – or so the individuals are led to believe – before being set up, arrested, and prosecuted on charges of joining those groups. It has long been a controversial practice, but has been either denied or justified by agencies on the basis of rooting out potential terrorists.
As a result of that raid in 2015, Davis and two other suspected militants were convicted and jailed two years later on the charge of being part of Daesh – which they denied – while three other men arrested at the villa were released due to lack of evidence. According to the outlet, though, Davis is now scheduled to be deported from Turkey to the UK within days.