It sounded, at first, like a big break in the anti-terror fight: a British man, arrested in Newark for trying to sell a shoulder-fired, Russian SA-18 surafce-to-air missile.But the arrest is not what it seems, Slate says.
The key figure in the plot never got his hands on a live missile. Instead, undercover police posed as both sellers of the missiles and as the intended final buyers: After the FBI heard from an informant that an aspiring arms dealer was trying to get ahold of Russian missiles and sell them to AQ (Al-Qaeda), the feds arranged to have Russian police sell the guy a disarmed missile. The missile was then shipped to the U.S, "with help from the federal authorities." At that point, feds posing as AQ operatives bought the dummy missile from the guy, then cuffed him.THERE'S MORE: The missile-selling suspect, Hemant Lakhani, is being held without bail. He's been charged with "providing material support to terrorists and of acting as an arms broker without a license," according to the Times.