By Tim Cushing
Another FBI counterterrorism “investigation” has turned someone with mental health issues into a potential long term tenant of the federal prison system. The arrest happened in August, but the documents related to the arrest weren’t unsealed until earlier this month.
This summation of events shows how little the FBI needs to do to get someone charged with a federal crime:
A Clarksville man has been arrested following an investigation by the FBI into ISIS-connected terrorist threats they say he made against the Clarksville Police Department and the Fort Campbell PX Exchange.
Jason Solomon Stokes, 41, was arrested Aug. 20 and charged with sending threatening communications interstate, a federal crime, according to documents unsealed today and obtained by Clarksville Now.
Using the internet for anything makes it “interstate,” which gives the feds jurisdiction. Stokes spoke about attacks in internet chat groups but never obtained anything needed to carry them out, like explosives or weapons. More details make it clear Stokes isn’t a dangerous terrorist, but rather someone who would have benefitted from some intercession from mental health professionals. The sad thing is the FBI agent who pursued the investigation knew this and just kept going until he could ring up Stokes on terrorism-related charges.
Agents accompanied by mental health professionals met with Stokes, who was being treated medically for schizoaffective disorder, according to the complaint. He was living with his mother in Summit Heights. Stokes admitted to making the posts but denied being violent and denied owning any weapons.
There was another visit later. And in that one, the mental health professional handed out a diagnosis… which was ignored by FBI agent Scot Sledd.
About a year and a half later, on about Nov. 5, 2019, the FBI was tipped that Stokes had made more terrorism-supporting statements. They again interviewed him and advised him to stop posting messages on social media. The mental health professionals advised that Stokes was not in crisis or a danger to himself or others, the documents said.
Five months later, Stokes was back in the ISIS-focused chat rooms talking about attacks again. And, again, he never showed interest in actually carrying them out. He backed out as the proposed attack date approached, saying he was worried about his elderly mother. He also failed to acquire weapons and ammunition to carry out the attack, offering to try again at some undetermined point in the future.
The criminal complaint makes it clear Stokes spent most of his time talking to FBI informants. And his “interviews” with Agent Sledd — accompanied by the mental health professional — were also part of the agency’s subterfuge. Sledd never identified himself as an FBI agent — a fact that may have made Stokes aware of the potential consequences of his online activities and perhaps pushed him away from engaging in these conversations.
Stokes’ online posts were first seen by one FBI informant. A second FBI informant initiated conversations with Stokes, hoping to secure a recording of Stokes pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. This led to a third informant pushing Stokes towards acquiring weapons. When the third informant set a date for the weapons delivery, Stokes backed out.
After that, Stokes never spoke to any of three informants the FBI set him up with. That was July 24, 2020. The FBI arrested him a month later, apparently deciding this month of silence was the perfect time to wrap up this pathetic “investigation” and pursue charges.
The FBI has not announced this arrest via its site. Neither has the DOJ. This suggests neither entity is especially proud of this takedown of a man suffering from mental health issues — issues the FBI ignored to rack up another cheap win. His online activities may have justified some additional scrutiny but when a mental health professional says someone isn’t a threat to himself or others, maybe the FBI should steer investigative resources towards people who actually are threats.