WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to order the government to disclose whether mass surveillance led investigators to a Wichita man accused of plotting a suicide bomb attack at a Kansas airport.
The possible existence of that evidence has been an issue in the terrorism case against Terry Loewen. The former avionics technician has pleaded not guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to give material support to al-Qaida.
According to court documents, Loewen intends to pursue an entrapment defense.
U.S. District Judge Monti Belot said in a ruling Friday that the government has neither admitted nor denied the existence of any materials gathered under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The judge said the issue is moot because the government has not given notice of its intent to use FISA evidence in the case.
Legal analyst, Dan Monnat, spoke with KSN News Friday about the filings and entrapment defenses.
“The fine line between ‘entrapment’ and the commission of a crime is whose idea was it?” asked Monnat. “Was the idea created by the government in a person who had no inclination to commit such a crime? Or, was this person just looking for an opportunity to commit such a crime? That’s the difficult question that a jury has to decide in a case like this.”
“Terry Loewen does not get to find out if the government engaged in illegally spying on him because the government has not said it’s going to use the fruit of any illegal spying,” Monnat explained.
The defense, in the November 14 filing, states its concerns that Loewen’s rights to a fair trial are at risk if the information is not released. The document cites specifically Brady v. Maryland.
KSN TV – by Brittany Glas