"Here's how it works: Informants report to their handlers on people who have, say, made statements sympathizing with terrorists. Those names are then cross-referenced with existing intelligence data, such as immigration and criminal records. FBI agents may then assign an undercover operative to approach the target by posing as a radical. Sometimes the operative will propose a plot, provide explosives, even lead the target in a fake oath to Al Qaeda. Once enough incriminating information has been gathered, there's an arrest—and a press conference announcing another foiled plot."
I'm not sure where I stand on this. I am sure the action muddles up actual recruitment by causing suspicion, but is seems like entrapment occurs.
I have heard from an air marshal that some of his coworkers make fake reports about 'suspicious' occurrences at airports, just to show that they are working. You just can't trust that the FBI is going to do the right thing. I'm sure these operations could benefit from more scrutiny.