There’s yet more evidence that the government informant in the Newburgh Four case used promises of financial support to lure his targets into participating in the fake terror plot for which they were arrested last week.
Lord McWilliams, the 20-year-old brother of one of the four, David Williams, has told the New York Daily News that Williams agreed to take part in the plot in order to get money to pay for McWilliams’ treatment for a deadly liver disease.
Williams wanted “to speed up the process,” said McWilliams, who has already had his spleen removed. “Medicaid only goes so far.”
McWilliams said he needs a transplant, and that the government informant — Shahed Hussain — promised to provide enough money to pay for it.
“[My brother] told me, ‘Don’t worry, when you go to the doctor, tell them you got money,’” McWilliams said, adding that Williams said he would have $20,000 for the operation.
And the men’s mother, Elizabeth McWilliams, said that Williams had told her he would be able to give her a wad of cash Thursday — the day after the plot was supposed to be carried out.
We’ve already seen claims by the suspect’s family that Hussein gave them meals, drugs, and rent money, and promised other gifts, as well as large sums of money, if they would work with him.
Let’s be clear, again, what all this means. Even if these claims are all true, they don’t, in themselves, mean the men don’t deserve to be charged and, if found guilty, punished. After all, there’s considerable evidence they were wiling to go through with what they believed to be a deadly plot, whatever their motives.
But — as we’ve said before — if the men were motivated as much by material concerns as by an ideological affinity for Islamic jihad, it raises questions about whether using government informants to gin up phony terror plots and lure others into participating is the most effective way to combat domestic terror.
Late Update: Williams’ mother said essentially the same thing to the Daily News over the weekend about Hussain’s promise to pay for Williams’ brother’s liver transplant.
But she also said that Hussain paid a fine for Williams in a Queens court earlier this year — something that, experts say, could become a serious problem for the prosecution if Hussain did so without sign-off from his handlers.