In the years Nicholas Young was patrolling Washington, D.C.’s Metro transit system, a federal prosecutor said, an FBI agent was lying awake at night worrying about what he might do. As the first police officer to face terrorism charges in the U.S. goes to trial in federal court this week, FBI agents and undercover operatives explained to jurors how they began investigating Young in 2010, and why he was not arrested until last year. It was then that Young bought Google Play gift cards that prosecutors say he thought would be used by Islamic State recruits to download encrypted messaging applications, reports the Washington Post.
During the years-long investigation, law enforcement officials testified, Young repeatedly made violent remarks that were concerning but did not prompt immediate action. Prosecutors said a sting operation involving the gift cards was necessary to get a dangerous radical not just off the streets, but also out of law enforcement. Young’s attorneys said his arrest was an overreach born of frustration that a six-year investigation had yielded nothing of value. Defense attorney Linda Moreno said, “The FBI induced Nicholas Young, a police officer who had served with distinction, to commit a crime where none existed.” Young, 37, who worked for the Metro Transit Police, hopes to be the first person since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to win a terrorism trial by arguing that he was entrapped by law enforcement.