conspiracy: the true story of THE FORT DIX FIVE
Conspiracy uses over 200 lengthy informant-generated wire recordings, hundreds of surveillance logs, over 300 FBI 302s, transcripts of recordings, a 6,000 page trial transcript, and over 10,000 FISA intercepted phone calls to recreate the sixteen-month sting, placing the reader in the center of the story, watching the chain of events unfold chronologically. This evidence is not public record and despite several FOIA requests, the FBI refused to produce it, citing a national security exception. Nonetheless, Yasin has procured the evidence from the defendants’ trial discovery.
Despite the overwhelming volume of surveillance the government procured, there is not a single piece of direct evidence a terror conspiracy existed between the five men. This book illustrates exactly how the informants crafted conversations that were later cut and pasted together, creating the illusion of a criminal conspiracy. It also examines the stakes and the pressures the informants were under from the FBI to deliver. Rather than uncovering an existing conspiracy, the informants manufacture the façade of one, pulling off a large scale con, gaining clemency, immigration status, and even enriching themselves on the taxpayer’s dime.
EXCERPT FROM THE PROLOGUE
Human beings are storytelling animals. That’s what we do – we tell stories. We tell them to ourselves and others. Some are real. Some are less real. Some are completely fake.
It should come as no surprise then, that the criminal justice system is one of the most complex, comprehensive, and dynamic storytelling machines. Criminal trials are theatrical performances that weave together competing narrative-patterns from a mosaic of storytellers: investigators, witnesses, experts, media, attorneys, and judges. It’s a delicate fusion of law and performance art, with each side meticulously crafting their story to grip the jury-audience’s attention and trust. Prosecutors paint a vivid, gut-wrenching story, inserting testimonies and using whatever corroborating evidence they’ve collected to support it. The defense, in turn, persuades jurors that the prosecution is manipulating them, using evidence selectively, spinning a speculative fable and obscuring the inconvenient truth that the state accidentally pegged the wrong person. The real perp is on the loose.
From formation to execution, the latent power resting within these competing stories is resounding. They can lead to a complete and total exoneration; they can also lead to a death sentence. Sometimes the jury believes the right story. But sometimes, they don’t.