The city of Portland, Oregon escaped disaster last night when a young mujahid failed in his attempt to detonate a car bomb during a crowded tree-lighting ceremony in a downtown square.
The culturally enriched teenage terrorist intended to make a “spectacular show”, and didn’t mind if he killed children and babies. He thought his cell phone would set off the bomb, but didn’t realize that he had bought his bogus “explosives” from FBI operatives. This was a smoothly-executed sting, and the Portland FBI office is to be commended for its deft handling of the case.
At least three people have emailed me to point out an interesting aspect of this incident: it has the first known Mohammed Coefficient of over 100%. The alleged would-be Portland Christmas Tree Bomber is a 19-year-old Somali-American named Mohamed Osman Mohamud, which gives this incident a Mohammed Coefficient of 200%.
When I first started collecting material for this post, I downloaded the news article and the FBI press release into a document, and searched the combined text for certain keywords to determine whether it complied with anti-Islamophobic Muslim Brotherhood guidelines.
|1.||“Islam”. Incidence: 0. Check.|
|2.||“Muslim”. Incidence: 0. Check.|
|3.||“Allah”. Incidence: 0. Check.|
|4.||“Mohammed”. Incidence: 0. (except for the name of the perp) Check.|
|5.||“Jihad”. Incidence: 7. FAIL!|
What’s this? How could it be?? The word “jihad” appears four times in the FBI’s own press release!
This violates specific directives issued at the highest levels of the Justice Department: the word “jihad” is not to be used by employees of the department, because it is subject to varying interpretations. The most frequently used definition, according to the guidelines, is “inner struggle”, and agents are instructed not to antagonize their Muslim fellow citizens by using it in a way that implies a reference to violence and holy war.
So what’s it doing in the press release, then?
Well, the FBI had a slight problem: young Mohamud involved himself with an online outfit called “Jihad Recollections”. I suppose it would have been possible to write the name as “J***d Recollections” instead, but that would have been a bit too much. Besides, Mr. Mohamud larded his talk generously with the word “jihad”, and meant it to have the sense of “killing unbelievers in the name of Allah”. He was obviously one of the tiny minority of Muslims who have mistakenly misconstrued the meaning of the word.
Yes, the unfortunate fact is that virtually one hundred percent of the terrorists who are trying to kill us — especially the ones with “Mohammed” in their names — believe that they are waging jihad against the infidel for the sake of Allah as written in the Koran and revealed to his messenger Mohammed. If only we could engage these confused kids, and help them understand the mistake they are making!
This problem will obviously require a much larger federal expenditure for education and outreach within the Muslim community.
Below are some excerpts from the news report and the press release. First, from Oregon Live:
FBI thwarts terrorist bombing attempt at Portland holiday tree lighting, authorities say
The FBI thwarted an attempted terrorist bombing in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square before the city’s annual tree-lighting Friday night, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.
A Corvallis man, thinking he was going to ignite a bomb, drove a van to the corner of the square at Southwest Yamhill Street and Sixth Avenue and attempted to detonate it.
However, the supposed explosive was a dummy that FBI operatives supplied to him, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint signed Friday night by U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somali-born U.S. citizen, was arrested at 5:42 p.m., 18 minutes before the tree lighting was to occur, on an accusation of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The arrest was the culmination of a long-term undercover operation, during which Mohamud had been monitored for months as his alleged bomb plot developed.
“The device was in fact inert, and the public was never in danger,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The investigation involved the FBI, Oregon State Police, Portland Police Bureau, Corvallis Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Mohamud will appear in U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday.
According to the FBI affidavit, the case began in August 2009 when Mohamud was in e-mail contact with an unindicted associate overseas who was believed to be involved in terrorist activities. In December 2009, while the unindicted associate was in a frontier province of Pakistan, Mohamud and the associate discussed the possibility of Mohamud traveling to Pakistan to participate in violent jihad.
The associate allegedly referred Mohamud to a second associate overseas and provided him with a name and e-mail address. In the months that followed, Mohamud made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the second associate.
Ultimately, an FBI undercover operative contacted Mohamud in a June 2010 e-mail under the guise of being an associate of the first unindicted associate.
Mohamud and the FBI operative agreed to meet in Portland a month later. Mohamud allegedly told the FBI operative that he had written articles that were published in Jihad Recollections, an online magazine that advocated holy war.
Mohamud also indicated he intended to become “operational,” meaning he wanted to put an explosion together but needed help. The two met again in August 2010 in a Portland hotel.
“During this meeting, Mohamud explained how he had been thinking of committing some form of violent jihad since the age of 15,” the affidavit says. “Mohamud then told (the FBI operatives) that he had identified a potential target for a bomb: the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26, 2010.”
The FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of his plan, noting that there would be many people, including children, at the event, and that Mohamud could abandon his plans at any time with no shame.
“You know there’s going to be a lot of children there?” an FBI operative asked Mohamud. “You know there are gonna be a lot of children there?”
Mohamud allegedly responded he was looking for a “huge mass that will … be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.”
Mohamud dismissed concerns about law enforcement, explaining that, “ … It’s in Oregon; and Oregon, like, you know, nobody ever thinks about,” according to the affidavit.
On Nov. 18, FBI operatives picked up Mohamud to travel to Portland, where they would finalize details of the attack.
David S. Kris, assistant U.S. attorney general for national security, said, “The complaint alleges that Mohamud attempted to detonate what he believes to be a vehicle bomb at a crowded holiday event in downtown Portland, but a coordinated undercover law enforcement action was able to thwart his efforts and ensure no one was harmed.”
See the rest of the article for details on the planning of the operation, the testing of the explosives, and the preparations for the day of the attack.
Here’s the full text of the press release from the Portland field office of the FBI:
Oregon Resident Arrested in Plot to Bomb Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Portland
Vehicle Bomb Left at Scene Was Inert and Posed No Danger to Public
PORTLAND, OR—Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia and resident of Corvallis, Ore., has been arrested on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb at an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony earlier this evening in Portland, Ore., the Justice Department announced.
According to a criminal complaint signed in the District of Oregon, Mohamud was arrested by the FBI and Portland Police Bureau at approximately 5:40 p.m. (PST) Nov. 26, 2010 after he attempted to detonate what he believed to be an explosives-laden van that was parked near the tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. The arrest was the culmination of a long-term undercover operation, during which Mohamud had been monitored closely for months as his alleged bomb plot developed. The device was in fact inert; and the public was never in danger from the device.
Mohamud is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Portland on Monday. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Dwight C. Holton, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, said, “This defendant’s chilling determination is a stark reminder that there are people—even here in Oregon—who are determined to kill Americans. The good work of law enforcement protected Oregonians in this case—and we have no reason to believe there is any continuing threat arising from this case.”
“The complaint alleges that Mohamud attempted to detonate what he believed to be a vehicle bomb at a crowded holiday event in downtown Portland, but a coordinated undercover law enforcement action was able to thwart his efforts and ensure no one was harmed,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “While the public was never in danger from the device, this case serves as yet another reminder of the need for continued vigilance both at home and abroad.”
“The threat was very real. Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale,” said Arthur Balizan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “At the same time, I want to reassure the people of this community that, at every turn, we denied him the ability to actually carry out the attack.”
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, in August 2009, Mohamud was in e-mail contact with an unindicted associate (UA1) overseas who is believed to be involved in terrorist activities. In December 2009, while UA1 was located in the northwest frontier province of Pakistan, Mohamud and UA1 discussed the possibility of Mohamud traveling to Pakistan to engage in violent jihad. UAI allegedly referred Mohamud to a second unindicted associate (UA2) overseas and provided Mohamud with a name and email address to facilitate the process.
In the months that followed, Mohamud allegedly made several unsuccessful attempts to contact UA2. Ultimately, an FBI undercover operative contacted Mohamud via e-mail in June 2010 under the guise of being an associate of UA1. Mohamud and the FBI undercover operative then agreed to meet in Portland in July 2010. At this meeting, Mohamud allegedly told the FBI undercover operative that he had written articles that were published in Jihad Recollections, an online magazine that advocated violent jihad. Mohamud also indicated that he wanted to become “operational.” Asked what he meant by “operational,” Mohamud stated that he wanted to put an “explosion” together, but needed help.
At a second meeting in August 2010, Mohamud allegedly told undercover FBI operatives he had been thinking of committing violent jihad since the age of 15. According to the affidavit, Mohamud then told the undercover FBI operatives that he had identified a potential target for a bomb: the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26, 2010.
According to the affidavit, the undercover FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of this plan, noting there would be many people at the event, including many children, and emphasized that Mohamud could abandon his attack plans at any time with no shame. “You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?” an undercover FBI operative asked Mohamud. According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded that he was looking for a “huge mass that will...be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.” Further discussing the attack, Mohamud allegedly stated, “...it’s in Oregon; and Oregon like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”
The affidavit alleges that in subsequent months, Mohamud continued to express his interest in carrying out the attack and worked on logistics. He allegedly identified a location to place the bomb and mailed bomb components to the undercover FBI operatives, who he believed were assembling the device. He also mailed them passport photos, as part of a plan to help him sneak out of the country after the attack. In addition, Mohamud provided the undercover FBI operatives with a thumb drive that contained detailed directions to the bomb location and operational instructions for the attack.
According to the affidavit, on November 4, 2010, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County, Ore., where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack. Afterwards, on the drive back to Corvallis, undercover FBI operatives questioned Mohamud as to whether he was capable of looking at the bodies of those who would be killed in the upcoming attack in Portland. According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded, “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured.”
Upon returning to Corvallis that same day, the affidavit alleges that Mohamud recorded a video of himself with the undercover FBI operatives in which he read a written statement that offered a rationale for his bomb attack. On Nov. 18, 2010, undercover FBI operatives picked up Mohamud to travel to Portland in order to finalize the details of the attack.
Earlier this evening, Mohamud was arrested after he attempted to remotely detonate what he believed to be explosives in a van that was parked near the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the affidavit alleges.
This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Oregon State Police, the Corvallis Police Department, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and the Portland Police Bureau. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan D. Knight and Jeffrey Sweet from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. Trial Attorneys Jolie F. Zimmerman and David Cora, from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, are assisting.
The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.
Hat tips: Nilk, LP, and M. Servetus.