PORTLAND, Ore. A Somali-born teenager who thought he was detonating a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony downtown here was arrested by the authorities on Friday night after federal agents said that they had spent nearly six months setting up a sting operation.
So we know there really are bad guys. This is news..... how?
One thing it does point out - we seem to be able to identify them. Look at what happened here - this kid (yes, really, he's 19) who happens to have a rather, uh, interesting name - "Mohammed Osman Mohamud" - started talking about blowing people up when he was fifteen.
More than a year ago he was watch-listed after he started communicating with people in.... wait for it..... Yemen and Pakistan. Gee, I wonder what religion those people were? Oh yeah..... you know.
The FBI followed up and ultimately some of their undercover folks gained this person's trust and provided him with a "demonstration" that they could get him the materials for a big fat bomb (including by setting off a smaller one for him in a remote area!)
He bit, took the components, assembled them in a vehicle and drove it to the Portland, Oregon tree-lighting ceremony where he tried to set it off.
The bomb was a fake and he was arrested.
Wow, look at that - the FBI did their job and someone who actually intended to commit a really serious terrorist act was interdicted, stopped and arrested!
Interestingly enough, there's another gent with ties to robbing banks that was caught a couple of days ago with a huge cache of explosives in the San Diego area.
George Djura Jakubec, 54, pleaded not guilty to 12 felony counts of possessing destructive devices and 14 counts of possessing ingredients to make destructive devices, along with two bank robbery charges.
Deputy District Attorney Terri Perez told Judge Marshall Hockett that after a gardener was injured in an explosion at Jakubec's unincorporated Escondido home last week, a large amount of hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMTD, was discovered.
A "large amount", in this case, was apparently over 12 lbs. That's a ridiculously-large amount of explosives - and oh there were apparently some home-made grenades in there too. For a guy who likes to rob banks, what the hell was he intending to do with that amount of explosives? That's a rather-odd combination when it comes to crooks.
In any event it's obvious (for anyone who doubts it) that there are criminals who would like to commit acts of terrorism - or use events that some would describe as "terrorism" as cover for some other criminal act (like, maybe, bank robbery?)
What's also obvious is that when our law enforcement agencies do their jobs they can actually interdict these folks using long-standing legal procedures. You know, warrants and other similar sorts of things - all within our Constitution?
What our nation needs to keep in mind is that the fact that there are bad people does not make us all criminals or suspects, nor should we tolerate any such assertion - by anyone.
This nation's law enforcement community continues to show us examples of both idiocy and good practice. The solution to idiocy is not to cede our liberties - it is to hold those in government who are idiots to account, including where appropriate indictment for criminal negligence or worse.
In that regard we have a lot of arrestin' and prosecutin' to do.