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Last month’s arrest of four men from Newburgh who allegedly planned to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and use a missile to shoot down military planes at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh is this country’s most recent claimed incident of domestic terrorism. Published reports indicate, however, that at the center of the plot was a government informant who actively recruited a group of unsophisticated men, secured for them a surface-to-air missile and fake bombs, and even offered cash so that one of the accused plotters could pay for a brother’s kidney transplant. These reports raise immediate questions about possible entrapment and provide an opportunity to review the history and contours of this important defense against government misconduct.

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