The Christmas tree, target of Somali-born Osman Mohamud, is seen in Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Oregon, November 27, 2010. A Somali-born teenager was arrested on Friday for attempting to detonate what he thought was a car bomb at a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Oregon, U.S. authorities said.
A Somali-born, American teenager was apparently set up by federal law enforcement officials who posed as radical Islamic fighters and lured the young man into a plot he believed would lead him to detonate a car bomb at an Oregon Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The bomb, provided by FBI agents, was â€œinertâ€ and did not pose a threat to public safety, according to the US Attorneyâ€™s Office in Oregon.
Oddly enough, Arthur Balizan, an FBI agent in Oregon, contradicted the US Attorneyâ€™s Office, suggesting that the threat posed by 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud â€œwas very real.â€
Except: â€œ[At] every turn,â€ he explained, â€œwe denied him the ability to actually carry out the attack.â€
The story rings devastatingly familiar when stacked next to the tale of Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a Jordanian man arrested in 2009, at age 19, for allegedly planning to detonate a car bomb in a Dallas skyscraper.
Each boy was led down the path to imagined violence by federal agents, with authorities ultimately providing fake bombs in both cases. Smadi and Mohamud, officials claim, expressed a desire to engage in terrorist attacks before agents began luring them in.
Federal agents noticed Mohamud in December 2009, after he allegedly communicated with a suspected terrorist in Pakistan. Months later, an undercover agent contacted Mohamud claiming to be the individualâ€™s associate, and Mohamud agreed to meet in Portland.
Agents claimed that Mohamud revealed himself to be the author of a bizarre 2009 article for the English-language â€œJihad Recollectionsâ€ magazine. The story made headlines for itâ€™s comical images of masked fighters helping each other exercise.
Other articles in the 70+ page magazine published in North Carolina included a preview of â€œemp technology,â€ poetry, speeches from Osama bin Laden and a how-to guide to global jihad.
One key thing, however, was oddly lacking from the magazineâ€™s first edition: as even Fox News noted, it did not explicitly call for violence against anyone.
The magazine also featured quotes from Tennessee Republican Congressman Zach Wamp, who made headlines again last July for suggesting that his state secede from the US.
Agents also reveal in court documents that Mohamud had told them he might be able to get a gun, because he was a â€œrapper.â€
â€œWe were unable to determine Mohamudâ€™s Jihadi emcee name, or the potency of his flow,â€ Gawker quipped.
Court documents claim the first meeting between Mohamud and the FBI took place in July, 2010. In the months following, agents ostensibly worked him up to the point where he was willing to flip the switch on a car bomb. Agents even took Mohamud to a secluded location to blow up a bomb they placed in a backpack, allegedly as a test run.
Mohamud was arrested by FBI agents and Portland police around 5:40 pm Friday, after he attempted to remotely detonate what he believed to be an explosives-laden van. Officials claimed that early on Friday, Mohamud had recorded a video explaining why he wanted to carry out the attack.
â€œI want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured,â€ he said, according to law enforcement.
Mohamud is scheduled to appear in federal court on Monday.