FBI agents claim they prevented a potential terrorist attack in Oregon. Right? Well, Not Really.

FBI agents claim they prevented a potential terrorist attack in downtown Portland on Friday. A Somali-born teenager – Mohamad Osman Mohamud – parked a van packed with explosives near a large crowd gathering to watch a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony. When he then tried to detonate the explosives with a cell phone – FBI agents swooped in and arrested him. Job well done, right? Well- not exactly. In reality – the FBI had been monitoring Mohamud for years when they discovered he had been emailing a friend in Northwest Pakistan – a known terrorist safe haven – back in 2008...when his concerned father provided the FBI with the tip about the people his son was visiting in cyberspace. Instead of talking to or helping Mohamud, the FBI agents decided to conduct a sting mission on him – reaching out to him – proposing the terrorist attack – assembling a fake bomb – providing the van – and setting Mohamud up to carry out the task. When he did – he was arrested. So is this really a success story? Or did Federal agents find a lonely, disaffected teenager – successfully radicalize him - and then arrest him to tout the Federal government’s counter-terrorism expertise. There are still a lot of questions left to be answered in this case. One in particular – in order for the sting to not be considered entrapment – it must be proven that the individual - "was independently predisposed to commit the crime for which he was arrested." In other words – agents must have presented Mohamud with choices that did not involve violent crimes and see if he would choose to commit terrorism. However – of the multitude of recorded meetings and documents the FBI has released – the crucial meeting in which Mohamud is given these choices was not documented – apparently due to a technical error with the recording device. Seems pretty convenient. So what has been the result of the FBI saving the lives of hundreds of people in downtown Portland who were never in danger and also arresting a teenager trying to commit a crime that they completely set up? More terrorism. In a backlash against Mohamud and Islam – the mosque he frequently attended in Oregon was a victimized by arson. On top of that – DC metro police announced a new policy to start randomly searching metro riders’ bags. So a religious building is actually burned down – and an important civil liberty is struck down by police here in DC. Is this really a responsible approach to stopping terrorism?


DFMM's picture
DFMM 12 years 27 weeks ago

Problem with Somali teen;

Recall the "generation gap" popular in the 60s and 70s? In addition to the generation gap, there is likely a cultural gap between the Somali teen and his parents, it is not uncommon with children of immigrants; the children tend to assimilate more quickly than the parents. This being caught in the middle between cultures can manifest in different ways; but there can be two extremes. On one end the children are repressed by the parents and end up not fitting in --- being nerdy, loners, etc. for lack of better term coming to mind. On the other end of the spectrum, the children rebel against the parents ---more so than the norm for teens-- and this could be the source of the problems the father in Portland had with the son.

IsaRevived's picture
IsaRevived 12 years 27 weeks ago

So the FBI even proposed the attack that never happened? Lovely. Just freaking lovely. @@

preed407's picture
preed407 12 years 27 weeks ago

the kid obviously had too much energy. solution? exercise. get him on a basketball team!

IDGem's picture
IDGem 12 years 27 weeks ago

I can't see how this is NOT entrapment. How many man hours were wasted on this one individual? Were the names of the terrorists in Pakistan given? Were they arrested? So how is the waste of our tax dollars worhwhile?

rgruenhaus's picture
rgruenhaus 12 years 27 weeks ago

It's like any job out there! How does a person keep their job? They make themselves look important! The FBI is doing like any other Government entity they stick together and make themselves look necessary. Has anyone ever seen the salaries that Homeland Security gets? They start at about $50k! Must be nice for a non-profit Government job! Oh that's right they can rake us over the coals and get more of that money that pays their salaries! I bet the electronics tech job I had and worked 48-52 hrs a week at and got paid no more than $50k would make $100k in the Dept. of Homeland Security.

They're not in the business of doing what is right, just what is right for them!

kre8peas 12 years 27 weeks ago

I think that "A stitch in time, saves nine" is a much better & proactive approach. What good came out of their set-up? None. Instead of helping a confused teen, caught between cultures & loyalties, this scenario seems to have succeeded in perpetrating hatred, creating yet more enemies & (perhaps) ruining a young life. Truly pitiful.

RealFed's picture
RealFed 12 years 27 weeks ago

Your take on the situation is right on...and what has taken place is offensive and counter-productive to our efforts against the terrorists. The big (bigger?) problem is this...While Obama is certainly now the Chief Executive of the USA, he has very little experience as an executive in any arena, much less in the biggest arena of all. He was a great candidate, but is far less effective as President. Yes, he did inherit the most baggage of any President, even more than FDR who did have a similar economic situation, but did not have two wars with which he had to deal at the same time. Obama needs to throw off the "bush burdens" with all alacrity, something he should have done by now.

This investigation into the OSU student was started during the Bush years. It should have gone away long ago. Both wars were stupidly started during the Bush years and also should have gone away a long time ago. As Chief Executive and head of the military Obama should exercise his Executive Powers to end them both and proceed with the war against terrorists, not terrorism, in a covert, NOT an overt, way.

We'll be listening in the morning, Thom. Thank you for being the bright light you are to so many of us.

mswyers's picture
mswyers 12 years 27 weeks ago

The FBI should turn themselves in for advocating terrorism. They have as much culpability as this kid does.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 26 weeks ago

The FBI is a domestic terrorist organization. J. Edgar Hoover must be given credit for domestic terrorism. I have felt for some time that the FBI is a rogue law enforcement agency similar to the CIA.

Blue Mark's picture
Blue Mark 12 years 26 weeks ago

Yesterday a pair of callers called for reducing Federal worker pay in order to "even it out" with private sector pay. Evening out pay would require raises - not cuts. But President Obama has already ruled that out with his just announced 2 year salary freeze.

The rapid spread of the false notion that federal workers are overpaid can be traced to a hit piece published in USA Today which relied on a superficial and biased CATO study:

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
"At a time when workers' pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees' average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY analysis finds."

The USA Today article is not only wrong, it is a dirty damn lie.

USA Today did an apples to oranges comparison, when you do an apples to apples comparison of workers with similar skills, experience and education, federal workers are making LESS salary than their private industry counterparts, but have better benefits because private industry benefits have been in free fall over the last decade or two.

What USA Today ignored is that most low level federal jobs have been outsourced to private contractors, the janitors and snack shop employees are no longer civil service employees - they work for a private company which has a federal contract and get little or no benefits. The federal government mostly employs professionals and outsources the rest of the jobs.

In fact, just in the last year, even with the economic turmoil of the Great Republican Recession, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/11/federal_salaries_fa... Federal Salaries fell by an average of 2.1 percent compared to equivalent private sector salaries, pushing the salary gap for federal workers to 22% behind the private sector.

A statement from the Office of Personnel Management issued after false stories in the media and from the Cato institute:


OPM Statement on Federal Employee Pay

Recent Comparisons of Federal Pay to Private Sector are Unfair and Untrue[/B]

Monday, August 16, 2010

Washington, DC - Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management released the following statement from Director John Berry:

Recent press stories regarding pay for Federal employees compared to private sector workers are unfair and untrue. Simply put, these stories have compared apples to oranges. Federal workers are not paid double the private sector. The Cato Institute and USA Today stories quoting Cato staff (and similar statements from the Heritage Foundation) look only at gross averages, including retail and restaurant service workers and other entry-level positions that reduce private sector average pay in comparison to the Federal average, which does not include many of these categories in its workforce.

The Federal workforce today is highly specialized. Thirty years ago, over 22% of our workforce was in blue collar jobs. Now that percentage has dropped by half while the percentage of IT and Health professionals has doubled. Data clearly show that many of these highly specialized workers - doctors, nurses, cybersecurity professionals - are paid less than their private sector counterparts and are making a significant sacrifice in pay to serve their neighbors.

The wages we pay are fair and the benefits we offer are good. But working for the Federal government is about more than money. People grow up dreaming about working for NASA, or the CIA, or becoming a park ranger, or cancer researcher. We should be applauding these hard-working civil servants - not mischaracterizing them.

It is also worth noting that in this time when so many American families are struggling to make ends meet, the President is committed to making sure the Federal government is spending the taxpayers' money wisely and carefully, and cutting costs wherever possible. Like households and businesses across the country, the Federal Government is tightening its belt. That’s why the President launched the Accountable Government Initiative and has pursued a variety of areas to cut waste and boost efficiency from contracting to improper payments, Federal real property, and unnecessary programs.

- John Berry, Director, United States Office of Personnel Management


When Senator Scott Brown made the claim that federal jobs pay twice as much as private sector jobs, it was rated "FALSE" by Politifact.com http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/feb/03/scott-bro...

fentmore's picture
fentmore 12 years 26 weeks ago

Tom added his own comments to a legal definition of entrapment. Nowhere in law is it required for officers to give choices--only that without enticement the subject is predisposed to commit the unlawful act. If I say to you, "I'm bored" and you reply, "Let's go steal a car," you're had. If I say, "I need a car; I'll give you $5,000 to get me a new one" and you say, "I'll be right back with one," you have been enticed. The guy showed and acted on a predisposition by all accounts.

fentmore's picture
fentmore 12 years 26 weeks ago

Tom added his own comments to a legal definition of entrapment. Nowhere in law is it required for officers to give choices--only that without enticement the subject is predisposed to commit the unlawful act. If I say to you, "I'm bored" and you reply, "Let's go steal a car," you're had. If I say, "I need a car; I'll give you $5,000 to get me a new one" and you say, "I'll be right back with one," you have been enticed. The guy showed and acted on a predisposition by all accounts.

t. metzger's picture
t. metzger 12 years 26 weeks ago

This has been the method of FBI and even local police for ages.The minute the FBI had knowledge of the phone call they should have met with the kid and his parents reading the riot act. Then having the kid report to a proffessional therapy person until such time as he is back on track.

These sting operations are very dangerous to the public because thier is always a chance for a slip up.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 12 years 3 weeks ago

Well, see, the whole thing started when J. Edgar Hoover stopped wearing blouses and skirts, and started wearing evening gowns. You see, the gowns were not quite fitted right and they cut off the circulation to his brain, which died decades before the rest of him did. Really, he should have stuck with the blouses and skirts.

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