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Tag: mohamed osman mohamud

Justice Dept. Fights Back Against Attempts to Muzzle Holder and Others in Portland Terrorism Case

Eric Holder/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is fighting back attempts by defense attorneys to muzzle Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. and other government workers when it comes to pre-trial comments in the terrorism case involving a teen who tried to detonate a bomb in Portland during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in December. It ended up being an FBI sting.

Holder publicly defended the sting and subsequently the defense for Mohamed Osman Mohamud filed a motion to try and prevent pretrial comments, alleging that remarks could taint the case.

Responding to that motion, Portland Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan Knight and Jeffrey Sweet filed a brief Monday, saying:

“It is clear that the Attorney General’s remarks struck a proper balance between defendant’s due process rights and the need to inform the public on law enforcement actions.

“The need to inform the public was especially true with respect to sting operations, which although not new have garnered a lot of publicity in the context of this case and others like it.

“Based on the statements described above, defendant now seeks an Order from this Court prohibiting the Attorney General from making “inappropriate pretrial comments.” Defendant’s argument is predicated on the assumption that the Attorney General’s comments were, in fact, somehow inappropriate. They were not.

“As the chief law enforcement official for the United States government, it is entirely appropriate for the Attorney General to address issues of public concern in pending federal cases.”

Moreover, defendant has cited no precedent for the type of order he seeks, and we have found none.”

Read Government Filing

FBI Releases List of Some of its Top Terrorism Cases in 2010

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The year 2010 was full of almost-disastrous terrorist acts  from the Times Square Bomber to the the Portland teen who tried to detonate a car bomb during a Christmas-lighting ceremony in Oregon, only to find out it was an FBI  sting.

Not everyone agreed with the FBI tactics when it came to  stings like the ones in Portland, Baltimore and the Washington area. Some accused the FBI of making terrorists out of lost souls looking for a mission. But Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. forcefully defended the FBI stings, saying they were legitimate investigative tools.

In a speech earlier this month in California, Holder specifically defended the FBI tactics in the Portland, Ore. case at the Christmas lighting ceremeony that led to the arrest of the teen Mohamed Osman Mohamud.

“Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight – or do not have a full understanding of the law,” he said.

“I make no apologies for the how the FBI agents handled their work in executing the operation that led to Mr. Mohamud’s arrest,” Holder said, according to a text of the speech distributed by the Justice Department.

The FBI on Monday released a list of what it considers some ofr its most significant terrorism cases of 2010.

The following was included in a press release:

  • Attempted bombing of Armed Forces recruiting center: A 21-year-old U.S. citizen earlier this month parked what he thought was an explosives-filled vehicle in front of a military recruiting center near Baltimore and tried to detonate it remotely. The bomb was fake, thanks to our undercover agents working the case. Details
  • Attempted bombing in Oregon: A naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested the day after Thanksgiving when he attempted to set off what he thought was a car bomb at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland. The 19-year-old had been the subject of a long-term undercover operation by the Bureau. Details

  • D.C. Metro bomb plot: In October, a 34-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen believed he was joining members of al Qaeda to plan multiple bombings of Metrorail stations in the Washington area. Instead, it was a sting. Farooque Ahmed researched peak rider periods so the attacks could cause mass casualties. Details
  • Al Shabaab indictments: In August—in Minnesota, Alabama, and California—two Americans were arrested and 12 others, including five U.S. citizens, were charged with terrorism offenses and providing material support to the Somali-based terrorist organization al Shabaab. Details
  • Northern Virginia man indicted: In July, 20-year-old Zachary Chesser—also known as Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee—told agents he twice attempted to travel to Somalia to join al Shabaab as a foreign fighter. On one of those occasions he tried to board a plane with his infant son as part of his “cover.” Details
  • Al Qaeda plotters indicted: In July, five senior members of al Qaeda were indicted for their roles in the 2009 plot against the New York subway system. Details
  • Missouri man guilty of supporting al Qaeda: In May, a 32-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen pled guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda and to bank fraud and money laundering. Details

Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad

  • Attempted bombing at Times Square: After a three-day nationwide manhunt, a naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested in May for an attempted bombing at New York City’s famous tourist area. Details
  • Michigan militia group indicted: In March, nine members of a militia group called the Hutaree were charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and related offenses. Details
  • Jihad Jane indicted: Also in March, U.S. citizen Colleen LaRose—also known as Jihad Jane—was indicted in Philadelphia for her role in recruiting jihadist fighters to commit murder overseas. A month later, a Colorado woman and colleague of LaRose’s was indicted on similar charges. Details

LA Times Editorial: Stings Can Be Legitimate Tool in Terrorism

By The Los Angeles Times
Editorial Page

From Abscam to the arrest of former Washington Mayor Marion Barry on drug charges, sting operations have brought accusations that the government was entrapping its targets.

This perennial complaint has acquired a new sensitivity with charges that the FBI, as part of its anti-terrorism activities, is inducing Muslims to take part in fictitious plots and then arresting them. So far the accusations seem exaggerated, but the FBI needs to be careful that it doesn’t propose violations of the law to individuals who have shown no propensity to commit crimes.

The latest suggestion of entrapment comes from the lawyer for Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the 19-year-old Somali American accused of plotting to explode a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting in Portland, Ore., last month. The lawyer said undercover agents had been “basically grooming” Mohamud for months to commit a terrorist act, and complained that they failed to record their first meeting with Mohamud — the meeting at which evidence of entrapment would be most evident.

The notion that Mohamud was entrapped brought a defiant response from Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. Addressing a group of American Muslims, Holder said he would make no apologies for the FBI’s conduct in the case, which included providing Mohamud with a large and elaborate “explosive.” More generally, Holder said undercover operations “have proven to be an essential law enforcement tool in uncovering and preventing potential terror attacks.”

If the government’s recitation of facts in the Mohamud case is to be believed, Holder is on solid ground.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Forcefully Defends FBI Stings in Terrorism Cases

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. delivered a forceful speech Friday night before the Muslim Advocates’ Annual Dinner in suburban San Francisco, strongly defending the FBI stings involving terrorism.

“Our nation’s law enforcement professionals have consistently demonstrated not just their effectiveness, but also their commitment to the highest standards of professional conduct, integrity, and fairness,” he said at a ballroom before hundreds of people.

Holder particularly honed in on an FBI sting in which a Somali born teen  Mohamed Osman Mohamud  tried to detonate a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., only to learn the plot was part of a sting.

“Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight – or do not have a full understanding of the law.”

“I make no apologies for the how the FBI agents handled their work in executing the operation that led to Mr. Mohamud’s arrest,” Holder said, according to a text of the speech distributed by the Justice Department.

“Their efforts helped to identify a person who repeatedly expressed his desire and intention to kill innocent Americans. As you may have read – and as the affidavit alleges – Mr. Mohamud chose the target location months in advance; provided FBI operatives with bomb components and detailed operational instructions; and repeatedly refused to change course when he was reminded that a large crowd – including children – would be in harm’s way.”

“Because of law enforcement’s outstanding work, Mr. Mohamud is no longer plotting attacks. He is now behind bars. And he will be brought to justice.

But he offered a conciliatory message as well, adding: ” But you also have my word that the Justice Department will – just as vigorously – continue to pursue anyone who would target Muslims, or their houses of worship.”

Holder then went on to defend law enforcement.

“Our nation’s law enforcement officials deserve our gratitude – and respect. Without their work – and their willingness to place public safety above personal security – government simply could not meet its most critical responsibility of protecting American lives.”

“Meeting this responsibility has never been more difficult. Our nation faces a determined and sophisticated enemy. As I’ve said repeatedly, I am committed to using every available tool to protect the American people. But I will not sacrifice or compromise our civil liberties.”

Read full text of speech

Lawyer Claims Oregon Teen Was Entrapped by FBI

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The federal defender for the Oregon teen accused of trying to detonate a fake bomb in an FBI sting, is claiming his client was entrapped by the government, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali-American, pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland to charges he tried detonating a van filled with fake explosives at a crowded holiday celebration last Friday in Portland, Ore.

The Los Angeles Times reported that federal defender Stephen R. Sady told the judge the FBI had been “basically grooming” Mohamud for months to commit a terrorist act.

He also expressed concern that the FBI’s failed to record agents’ first meeting with Mohamud. Subsequent meetings were recorded.

“In cases involving potential entrapment, it’s the first meeting that matters,” Sady said, according to the paper. “The first meeting was not recorded.”

The paper reported that after the hearing, Sady and Steven Wax, the federal public defender, released a statement saying the FBI’s sting “raises significant concerns about the government manufacturing crime — or entrapment.”

“The affidavit reveals that government agents suggested key actions to this teenager, spent thousands of dollars on him, specified components, drove Mr. Mohamud around, and were instrumental in setting up” the purported bombing attempt, they said, according to the paper.

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. told reporters on Monday that he was “confident that there is no entrapment here, and no entrapment claim will be found to be successful,” the paper reported.

Holder said undercover FBI agents gave the teen numerous chances “to retreat, to take a different path. He chose at every step to continue.”

To read more click here.

Read FBI Affidavit

Teen Bomber in Portland Was Angry At Parents for Keeping him from Jihad


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Somali-born teen busted in an FBI sting after trying to detonate a van with dummy explosives during an annual tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Ore., on Friday night, was angry at his parents for keeping him from jihad, the Oregonian newspaper reported.

The paper, citing government court documents, stated that Mohamud, 19, sent an e-mail June 25, 2010, to an undercover FBI operative saying he’d been “betrayed by my family” because he was unable to fly from the United Kingdom to Pakistan.

Mohamud said in a video that living in the U.S. “is a sin”, the paper reported.

“To my parents, who held me back from Jihad in the cause of Allah. I say to them, if you make allies with the enemy, then Allah’s power will ask you about that on the day of judgment …,” Mohamud said in the video, according to court documents.

The arrest was the result of an FBI sting in which the agency worked with Mohamud in assembling a bomb he tried twice to detonate on Friday night.

“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.”

To read more click here.

Read Washington Post story

Portland Bomb Suspect Appeared to be Normal Teen (LA Times)

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