In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
All praise to due to Allah, the creator and sustainer of the Universe. All praise to due to Him who said:
"And whether you keep your talk secret or disclose it, verily, He is the All-knower of what is in the hearts".
And may His peace be upon the Final Prophet, who said:
"Maintain truthfulness, for truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Heaven. A man continues to maintain truthfulness until he is recorded in Allah's book as truthful. Refrain from lying, because lying leads to blatant evil, and evil leads to the fire. A man continues to lie until he is recorded in Allah's book as a liar".
(Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and Al-Tirmithi).
..and upon his family and his companions and his followers.
Allah said in His Book:
"And when the disbelievers plotted against you to capture or to kill you or to expel you; they were plotting and Allah was plotting also, but Allah is the Best of Plotters".
With this in mind, and in light of recent events, most notably the arrest of our brother in Oregon (may Allah keep him steadfast and free him), I have decided to record and write down 10 methods which, through my own personal experiences, will shed light onto the tactics used by spies and/or informants to entrap and ultimately arrest Muslims, and the ways to defect and foil these plots.
# One #
A spy will always start with "grooming." The process of grooming way take several months. Sometimes this information and join and be active on a forum or in a masjid for several months alone before they even make contact with the individual they seek to entrap. Once they make contact, the dialogue is typically small. Such topics as translations, finding nasheeds, looking for a husband/wife, or best places for halal food are discussed, simply because they are low key. These are used to gain trust and not seem blunt, because bluntness (i.e. talking about Jihad from day one) raises red flags. A spy may groom their target for months before mentioning Jihad, and even then, they will start out small, with such topics as "did you like the new video by As-Sahab" or "what is your favorite Jihadi nasheed."
# Two #
You may notice red flags in the form of lies and inconsistencies. Such red flags can include changes in stories, which are typically elaborated upon once you make it known that you are aware in the changes in their stories. For example, a spy may mention he is a student in an American university. However, being smart, you notice he comes online or is at the masjid during what would be normally considered as school hours. When you say "I thought you were in school" they will quickly change their story to accommodate with a statement such as "I am taking online classes" or "I only go to night school." Watch for small things which may seem insignificant, such as the mentions of family members, a job, or knowledge of a particular topic. If it is revealed that this person has told one lie, even if it involves something small, take precautions that everything may very well be a lie.
# Three #
Other red flags include major statements. These typically include claims to be a member of a Mujahideen organization, or to be in contact with Mujahideen or particular Shayook, or to have known personally or met various leaders of the Mujahideen. This should be obvious. Anyone who makes these claims is either a liar, or if they are truthful, then they are extremely jahil when it comes to security, both for themselves and for the Mujahideen whom the represent.
# Four #
A spy will typically claim to be busy, most likely with school studies. This personally will frequently make apologies for not being around as a result of studying for midterms or doing homework. Spies use this ploy to make themselves seem normal, as if they have a life that can be related to. This does not mean that someone Mujahideen are not students and hard at work with studies, because some in fact are. However, if one really seeks Jihad, and in particular Shahadah by means of an Istishhadi or Fidaye mission, it is unlikely their primary focus is schooling. They excuse of schooling is used most frequently, as opposed to health problems or a job, possibly because a target who is being groomed may feel that an unhealthy person is unfit for Jihad or a person who has a job and thus pays taxes is in some was a collaborator. Regardless of the reasons, this excuse and constant apology for a late reply, even it is sent a day or two after your message to them, is quite common.
# Five #
Spies will ask their targets to be "specific" and "clear." For example, if you say you say you are interested in Jihad, they will ask if you mean physical Jihad. If you mention you have knowledge of firearms, they will ask what kind of firearms and what do you know. One must watch their words at all times, or better yet, say nothing. They reason spies ask their targets to be precise is not because they don't understand you, but rather because if and when you are arrested, they want to make sure a jury will understand what you meant and thus convict you. If you are vague then there is a chance a jury will not convict. If you keep you mouth shut, then there is a chance you will not even be arrested. A spy may or may not make threats themselves, but will wait for you to do the talking. After all, it you they want, and no matter what threats a spy says, he cannot get into any trouble for making them. They want you to talk and be specific.
# Six #
In the process of grooming, a spy will always accept you. They will accept your manhaj and not debate it, even if they say it is different from their own. Typical behaviors such as smoking, listening to music, or hanging photos are never condemned by spies if they target says that they do this; spies may in fact claim to even do these things themselves. They will always answer personal questions and take no offense when you ask, because after all, they are lying. If you are a revert to Islam and make mention of sinful behaviors in your life prior to accepting Islam, a spy will not seem to care at all. Spies never appear to get mad at or disagree with their targets, except under one condition. This condition is if they target appears to break away from or become disenchanted with the idea of Jihad. Then they spy will badger their target, typically by bringing up their past words or using techniques to make them feel guilty. Only if the target seems to be against the Jihad which the spy is talking about - whether it is Al Qa'idah or Jaish e Muhammad - will they spy become or appear to become upset.
# Seven #
Ask yourself, what does this person trust you? In a world where literally anyone can be a spy, why does this person trust you? Why are they claiming to be a Mujahid, and telling this to a person who they met over a computer or at the masjid? Why are they telling you they want to conduct Jihadist operations or make hijrah? You cannot know if anyone in sincere, and this is the sad reality. Think about why they would trust you of all people, and not someone else. The answer is because they are seeking to arrest you, and this is part of their grooming process.
# Eight #
Now ask yourself, if they already trust you, why do they need you? If they want you to make hijrah with them, ask yourself why they are not going alone or with someone else. If they need someone to carry out an operation on the home-front, as yourself, what do they pick you. If you look at the events of Oregon and learn from them, you will see that it was a group of "brothers" who in fact spies that recruited our noble brother, may Allah free him. One can now ask himself "if there was already a group of brother, amongst them a bomb maker, why did they need someone else to drive the car?" If an individual already claims to know how to build a bomb, why would they ask you to plant it? Is it because they are afraid to die? Is it because they want to make more bombs? Or, or than likely, is it because they want to entrap you? This is especially true in such scenarios that contain multiple spies. If there is already a group who is claiming to be Mujahideen and preparing an attack, what do they need from you?
If they claim to be Fidayeen, why do they need one more?
Why not recruit ten more, why not use one less?
Why do they ask you to help them train if they already claim to have knowledge of firearms and explosives?
Why do they need a cameraman; cannot one of them film the training?
Sometimes when an operation is to be carried out, if is you who is asked to plant the bomb. Ask yourself why do they want you to plant they bomb or become the Fidaye? And if they already have a plan, why do they trust you, a relative stranger, to help them? These questions must be asked.
# Nine #
Spies will use excessive talk and training. Most operations, especially an istishhadi operation, does not need months upon months of training, but spies will make it appear as though it does. If they operation involves a bomb, there will be numerous dry runs or explosive demonstration. Why? For a shooting type Fidaye attack, spies will request months of training. Note also spies will more than likely ask to train on your property and to use your firearms if you have any. These types of operations do not need the types of planning spies often specify, and especially not the the degree the specify. The first reason for this is to groom you and gain your trust. And the second reason is to ultimately delay the operation itself, which is, obviously a set up, after all. With regards to excessive talk, follow the aforementioned precautions of method five. Spies will want you to do all they talking. They will typically ask for your idea and your input and if you think anything can be changed or improved. They will ask you what you think would be a suitable target. They want for you to say that you desire to become an istishadi or that you seek to kill other people. Remember, silence is golden.
# Ten #
Finally, if you suspect that you have fallen victim to entrapment of a spy, there are actions which should be taken. Obviously, you must cut all contact with the person you suspect of being a spy. However, beforehand it may be beneficial to tell them that you have in fact become disenchanted with Jihad. It may even be wise to claim that you have lost interest in Islam! Lie, lie, lie! Remember, this is a spy you are talking to. After which, it may be best to disappear. One need not give a reason, or they may use an excuse such as their wife is pregnant or they are moving away. It may be wise to change user names on forums or switch email accounts. Also important, if possible, do not let this individual know that you are aware that they are a spy. Otherwise, they may realize you are lying to them, and still continue to investigate you. And last but not least, warn anyone else who may have fallen victim to such entrapment, and reveal to them the aforementions methods used by spies.
I ask that Allah accepts my works and that my brothers and sisters may find these useful, by the will of Allah.
Your Brother in Islam.