Portland Officials Rejected Federal Task Force That Saved City From Massive Terror Attack
The FBI thwarted a bomb plot at the tree lighting at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Friday night. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somali-born U.S. citizen, was arrested 18 minutes before the tree lighting was to occur. (The Oregonian)
Politically correct Portland officials voted not to participate with federal agents in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Federal agents this week saved Portland citizens from a massive terror attack.
Byron York at The Washington Examiner reported:
In 2005, leaders in Portland, Oregon, angry at the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror, voted not to allow city law enforcement officers to participate in a key anti-terror initiative, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. On Friday, that task force helped prevent what could have been a horrific terrorist attack in Portland. Now city officials say they might re-think their participation in the task force — because Barack Obama is in the White House.
Reading the FBI affidavit describing Islamist terror suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud’s plan to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square is a chilling experience. Mohamud, a Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen who attended Oregon State University, told undercover FBI agents he dreamed of performing acts of jihad in which hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans would die. “Do you remember when 9/11 happened when those people were jumping from skyscrapers?” Mohamud asked the agents, according to the affidavit. “I thought that was awesome.”
In months of preparation with men he thought were co-conspirators but were in fact undercover agents, Mohamud backed up his talk with action. After initially making email contact with Islamist radicals in Pakistan, he took part in constructing what he hoped would be an extraordinarily powerful bomb, scouted the best location for the attack, parked the van containing the bomb near the Christmas tree crowd, and, finally, dialed the cell phone number he believed would detonate the explosives. “I want whoever is attending that event to leave either dead or injured,” Mohamud said of the 25,000 people expected to take part in the event.
That Mohamud was arrested and no one was hurt is a testament to good intelligence and law enforcement work. Having Mohamud behind bars has undoubtedly saved lives in Portland; had he not encountered the undercover FBI agents, he might have worked with actual terrorists to construct a bomb, or he might have simply gotten a gun and carried out “an operation here, you know, like something like Mumbai,” as he told the agents.
What is ironic is that the operation that found and stopped Mohamud is precisely the kind of law enforcement work that Portland’s leaders, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, rejected during the Bush years.