The Washington Post

Weingarten: Are these stings okay?

Once again in the news this morning is a government sting of dubious – or, at least debatable -- merit. It’s a good story featuring photos of People Who Should be Convicted on Mug Shot Alone, an oeuvre of photo that is a staple of my Twitter feed. link.

To summarize: The federal government arrested five a-holes on charges of trying to blow up a commuter bridge near Cleveland. The bridge, however, was never in jeopardy. Basically, after the FBI heard there were some anarchist a-holes intent on doing harm of some sort, they set them up with an informant stooge who sold them harmless gunk as explosive, talked out possible targets with them, helped them decide on this bridge, reporting back to the feds all the while. After the suspects planted the phony explosive, and activated what they thought was a detonator, they were arrested.

Sting #2

The Feds want to investigate reports they receive that some congressmen might be open for bribes.   So they create a phony “Arab Sheikh,” who is given buckets of cash, and sets out to find congressmen willing to take it in return for support of future legislation. Several congressmen do this and are arrested.

Sting #3

Cops go undercover online in chat rooms posing as a 13-year-old girl, and wait for pervs to propose a meeting for sexual contact.   The "girls" are flirty and naive and easily persuaded. Anyone who shows up for a meeting is arrested.  

Sting #4

Identical to sting #3, but the cop was posing as the mother of a 3-year-old girl, wanting to sell her toddler for a sexual liaison.   Guy arranges a meeting, at which he is arrested. (He then commits suicide in prison.)

Sting #5

Cops set up a drug house in a neighborhood known for drug-sale activity, and spread the word there is heroin for sale. They actually sell heroin, taken from confiscated drugs. Buyers are arrested and charged with possession.

Gene Weingarten is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writes "Below the Beltway," a weekly humor column that is nationally syndicated.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans