The Newburgh Sting will air Monday, July 21 on HBO. This documentary concerns a 2009 FBI undercover operation against terrorist attacks upon New York area targets. Viewers beware, though; this film ignores copious evidence of jihadist motivation in a tale of deprived individuals entrapped by zealous officials that discredits effective tactics against terror.
The documentary analyzes how four American Muslims undertook what they thought would be attacks against two Bronx synagogues and American military transport planes in a May 20, 2009 FBI sting. The operation begins with FBI informant Shahed Hussain visiting Newburgh, New York's Masjid Al-Ikhlas mosque undercover, where the apparently wealthy Hussain raised suspicions with persistent inquiries into jihad. "Everybody here is straight," however, so Al-Ikhlas imam Salahuddin Muhammad remained unconcerned.
Yet the film recounts how Hussain encountered in Al-Ikhlas's parking lot, on June 13, 2008, James Cromitie, as described by court records, where his Muslim name, Abdul Rehman, also appears. In the film, Cromitie falls prey not to talk of jihad, but rather to Hussain's offer of $250,000, according to former FBI agent and ACLU policy analyst Mike German. "They're doing it for the money," Cromitie likewise says on a surveillance tape in the film about the three plotters he recruits. David Williams ("AKA DAOUD" in official documents), for example, liked "weed and women," according to his aunt. He merely became a "jailhouse Muslim" in order to avoid prison gangs and wanted money for his mother's liver transplant operation.