Blame the terrorists, not the FBI

Readers' Letters
by: Craig Mitchelldyer, 
An early morning arson fire on Nov. 28 damaged the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center, the mosque that Pioneer Square bomb suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud attended in Corvallis. Letter writers weigh in on issues surrounding the terrorist plot.

It is amazing how some will find fault with law enforcement no matter what they do or what they prevent (Did the FBI trick bomb suspect?,, Nov. 28).

There is a reason why we have had so few terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11. Several that have been prevented are publicized, as in this case. You can expect that many more have been intercepted without publicity. Why don't you try thanking the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and all local law enforcement for their vigilant efforts in protecting us?

The law allows trickery in deceiving a person intent on causing harm to others. It does not allow deceiving the court in prosecution of that individual.

True loss of civil liberties would be the deaths of hundreds of people attending a public ceremony. This individual sacrificed his own rights when he took the first step in carrying out his plan. That first step may have been in the planning of a terrorist act. It makes no difference that he was planning it with undercover law enforcement rather than other jihadists.

Be aware that the same FBI (that some) find fault with in this matter will be conducting the civil rights investigation regarding the arson of the mosque attended by the subject of the investigation (Fire damages mosque that bomb suspect attended,, Nov. 28). That investigation will be as thorough and complete as the terrorism case.

Gary Gipson

Lake Oswego

FBI brought risk to Portland

Whether the FBI tricked the subject is not as important as the FBI tricking the entire Portland metro area (Did the FBI trick bomb suspect?,, Nov. 28).

According to the published event timeline, the FBI had a provable terrorism case in September, yet left this kid at liberty to act on his own. I can't find anything that tells me what prevented him from making his own small device and attacking shoppers on Black Friday, or killing anyone who he thought might be a risk to his 'master plan.'

I am disturbed to think that the FBI intentionally left the public at risk, for almost two months, in order to increase the public fear, increase the dramatic 'save,' and to put more pressure on Portland to rejoin the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Sadly, I can find no other explanation.

Mark Peterson

Southeast Portland

FBI exploited unstable teen

According to neighbors and schoolmates who knew him well, 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud is a very nice young man whose parents split up in summer 2009.

Presumably, their relationship was rocky for some period prior to that time. Any family counselor knows this situation can create the potential for teenagers to get into trouble. It appears that FBI operatives worked with this good but vulnerable teen during a time when he was trying to become a man against a backdrop of family instability, and in effect coached him to become a terrorist.

As alternate adult male figures, these FBI folks encouraged Mohamud to express violent ideology, develop a plot and bring it nearly to fruition. As a result, we have the Christmas tree-lighting bomb plot, which presumably will run on the front page of (local newspapers) for quite some time (Police, FBI say bomb plot over,, Nov. 29).

Why would the FBI do this? Could it have anything to do with Portland's withdrawal from the Joint Terrorism Task Force five years ago? Could it be that the FBI and certain other elements of our government want to foment fear in Portlanders in order to draw us back into the terrified American fold that supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has accepted various limits on our civil liberties as the price of public safety?

If so, shame on them; and shame on us if we buy what they are selling.

Barbara J. Gazeley

Southwest Portland

Don't take police for granted

Just another example of good police work that goes on everyday and is seldom noticed (Did the FBI trick bomb suspect?,, Nov. 28).

Thanks to our men and women in blue who are out there while we sleep.

Bob Sherman

Kelowna, B.C.

Behavior cannot be explained away

This 'trick' defense is a load of politically correct garbage (Did the FBI trick bomb suspect?,, Nov. 28).

When are we going to start expecting human beings to behave with some measure of morals and conscience? I just love the excuse that maybe he was a 'very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner …'

Are you kidding me? Who but a hateful murdering sociopath would just 'go along' with a plot to set off a bomb and kill people.

The defense is treating this guy like some kid who was 'tricked' into a fraternity prank. He's a murderer, a zealot and he is evil.

It's time to hold people like this accountable, instead of trying to explain bombing murderers as 'youthful' and 'misunderstood.'

Max Magliaro


Do not react with violence

We are no better than other terrorists if this is how we react (Fire damages mosque that bomb suspect attended,, Nov. 28). The judicial system is set up to prevent this type of 'vigilante justice.' The majority of Islamic people are not violent. Leave it to Corvallis to set the bar so low.

Robin Sherwin

Northwest Portland

Which liars can we trust?

Yes they did (Did the FBI trick bomb suspect?,, Nov. 28).

The problem here and for all the lawyers that read either the news on it or the transcript (is that) in a 'sting' operation the police or FBI are allowed to lie and deceive. Why they allow it in a law agency is beyond me. Therefore, how can anyone be sure of what he said or what they said? It is reported by an agency that is allowed to lie and deceive. One has to conclude that if they can lie to arrest, they can easily lie to convict.

This is simply a case of the police providing him with explosives, then arresting him for having them. This is their typical mode of operation to justify their presence.

The truly preventive way would be to confront him and (mature brain cells do not kick in till 25) work something out together in some kind of program. If they can spend months and months in expenditures, then spend all that to reprogram him. This is preventive and not punishment.

Ken Chang

Kaneohe, Hawaii

Intent was to hurt the innocent

So, I guess we are supposed to expect the FBI to just ask someone their 'intent' and expect that the individual plotting harm to any of us will just state, 'Yes, I intend to harm innocents' (Did the FBI trick bomb suspect?,, Nov. 28)? Yeah, right.

I support law enforcement's right to measure individual intent - they didn't force or trick this individual into making the phone call that would have detonated a 'real' bomb to create 'real' harm because he had 'real' intent. He dialed the numbers himself. Twice!

My 'freedom' didn't suffer because of it.

Sandra Wilborn

East Portland

Task force will not protect us

If Portland joins the Joint Terrorism Task Force, you will not be any safer (Did the FBI trick bomb suspect?,, Nov. 28).

The only result of this perfectly timed power grab will be an invitation for the Department of Homeland Security to intensify its civilian surveillance grid under the unconstitutional authority of the Patriot Act. You will see the sudden arrival of naked body scanners in PDX, and you will see children and the elderly being manhandled and molested in the name of 'fighting terrorism.'

There will be more wiretapping - a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The arresting of nonviolent offenders will spike. The Joint Terrorism Task Force is a Trojan horse for the police state. Every evil tyrannical law that was created under President Bush will come to fruition under Barack Obama. Remember, Obama has renewed the Patriot Act - twice!

We will become our own worst enemy and, in the end, we will not be safer.

Most importantly, do not let this issue devolve into an childish argument under the false left/right paradigm. This is not a football game. This is a subversive, fear-based assault to the civil liberties of the people of Oregon. Emotional name-calling and partisan rhetoric are not constructive, nor are religious arguments. We need to really look at what is being pushed on us.

Wray John Harris Jr.

Southwest Portland