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Documents: Alleged San Jose Bomber Suffers From Mental Illness

Published: February 10, 2013
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Source: NBC News

Court documents obtained by NBC Bay Area on Friday reveal the troubled past of the San Jose man charged with targeting an Oakland bank because he was waging a jihad on America: the one-time window washer suffered from bipolar disease and substance abuse, along with being paranoid that people were out to get him.

The FBI arrested Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, on Friday after they said he tried to bomb a Bank of America in Oakland, not knowing that the bomb was fake and he had been the target of an undercover operation for months. His federal public defender declined comment.

However, one civil rights expert, Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Santa Clara, said that this smells of entrapment  and is especially upsetting because the defendant has mental health issues.

“Did the FBI take a [mentally ill] aspirational terrorist, make him an operational terrorist and then thwart their own plot?” Billoo asked. “CAIR has been saying this for years now: It’s the FBI’s job to stop operational terrorists. It’s not the FBI’s job to enable aspirational ones.”

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