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FBI "Dummy" Bomber to Make First Court Appearance

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the 19 year old provided with a dummy bomb by the FBI, will make his first court appearance today. He will be represented by Stephen Sady, the chief deputy federal public defender in Portland. The office has plenty of experience, having represented Brandon Mayfield, the Portland attorney arrested on suspicion of participation in the Madrid bombings, a theory later debunked,

Yesterday, arsonists set fire to a mosque Mohamud attended. While physical damage was slight, the symbolic damage is huge. The F.B.I. is on the case, but has no suspects.

Friends of Mohamud are surprised by his arrest, saying he wasn't particularly religious: [More...]

"I'm really glad the FBI stopped something awful from happening, but at the same time I also wonder what would have happened if the FBI hadn't set him up," Wright said. "Would he have still gone through with it?"

I wonder how much more prejudice and hatred will result from the FBI's dummy bomb sting. Was this operation really necessary? At the moment, it hardly seems like it.

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  • Display: Sort:
    If TSA now starts looking for dummies (none / 0) (#1)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 07:53:27 AM EST
    the airport security lines will never end.

    On a more serious note (none / 0) (#2)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 07:55:32 AM EST
    that's the problem with all these entrapment investigations.  Would the accused perp have done anything without the aiding and abetting of law enforcement?

    Sadly we'll never know... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 08:14:02 AM EST
    and another question is raised...could a soul have been saved from the wrong path if the authorities had set out to help the kid, "protect and serve" the kid, instead of deceiving him and feeding the alleged hate in his heart?

    Parent
    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:31:03 AM EST
    Why not tell him 'Hey, we are on to you' and try to get him on a different path. Was that even considered?

    Parent
    Not much of a headline in that now is there? (none / 0) (#7)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 11:58:48 AM EST
    Can't have our well funded national security apparatus in the social worker business, they'd soon enjoy all the lavish funding provided to social workers.

    Parent
    No one gets re-elected doing that (none / 0) (#10)
    by republicratitarian on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 01:18:59 PM EST
    The problem is the margin for error (none / 0) (#9)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:27:22 PM EST
    lets say the FBI simply discourages the kid- it doesn't take, and next time instead of seeking out collaborators he just buys a hunting rifle and climbs a water tower? Its one thing when the government uses entrapment to fight prostitution or drugs- essentially if not victimless at least limited impact crimes- terrorism is another thing entirely- imagine if the FBI had jumped in Kansas before the murder of Dr. Tiller or in OKC before McVeigh and Nichols planted the bomb- sorry but I have no sympathy once you start seriously solicting for information/aid in the murder of your fellow human being you lose the benefit of the doubt in my book.

    Parent
    i can't help but feel that the resources they (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 01:21:58 PM EST
    used essentially building a plot could be better spent finding the real plots. Bring this guy in for questioning if there is not enough for an arrest on a legitimate charge, and then stay on him like white on rice for a year.

    I don't have much sympathy either, just feel like it is a big waste of time and creates more malcontents than it catches.

    Parent

    Real plots? (none / 0) (#13)
    by BigElephant on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 04:54:04 PM EST
    I'm curious as to how does the FBI know a "real plot" versus a plot like this?   If I'm a deep cover FBI agent who gets a lead that X is interested in materials for a dirty bomb, should I just say, "that plans not hatched... not my concern" and let him go work with some other people?  

    The exact right thing to do is to talk to him, and find out if he's serious.  If he is dead serious, which this guy appears to have been (they tell him that he will kill women and children and ask if he really wants to do that, and he says yes) then I think your only real plan of action is to do what they did.  

    The problem is that to do anything short of that would be negligence IMO.  

    Parent

    Two ways... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 02:07:26 PM EST
    to look at it from a "margin of error" perspective...what happens when the FBI goads a wannabe into a plot and then the mark slips through their fingers?  That could happen too.

    Not to mention sending this kid away for years or life when he perhaps never woulda done nothing without the FBI chirping in his ear is an unacceptable "margin of error" too.

    Parent

    As Ronald Wilson Reagan said: (none / 0) (#4)
    by Yes2Truth on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 08:26:44 AM EST

    "Government isn't the solution to problems,
    Government IS the problem."

    Sometimes govt is the problem (none / 0) (#6)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 11:57:07 AM EST
    sometimes it offers solutions.

    The key is to know when government action is appropriate.  Our elite leaders haven't provided much if any evidence that they get this.

    Parent

    I've held my tongue (none / 0) (#8)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 12:22:41 PM EST
    on these sorts of arrests in the past however, I feel like I need to say something. It might be that having an immediate family member who recieves death threats from religious extremists affiliated with terrorists has warped my perspective but I'm okay with what the FBI did here- I feel this is more in line with the "fake hitman" sting than the drug and prostitution iterations of this gambit and as such I'm far, far less troubled by the possible entrapment involved (that is not to say that my concerns don't exist but rather that said concerns are far less present)-- forgive but after all the "lone wolf"/small cell terror of the last two decades from OKC to Eric Rudolph to the asassination of various reproductive services professionals- I have little sympathy for a kid who could quite easily have assembled IED on his own with some diesel and ammonium nitrate.

    went (none / 0) (#14)
    by wg on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 08:54:15 PM EST
    there which was a total waste of time, the fortress (the downtown federal court) felt like Stasi headquarters in East Berlin in olden days, multiple layers of security, oodles of strange looking vehicles with thuggish looking people inside cruising around, tons of suspicious looking people (clearly undercover security) inside in elevators, on the courtroom floor, even by the exit. General feeling you and everybody else was being watched by strange people behind the curtains.

     In other words stifling East Geman ambience in abundance.  

    Roughly 100 people showed up, around 20 in Somali garb, a lot of well know local media people, including D. Sarasohn from the Oregonian (one of their oldest and the least spine containing  columnist) most of whom looked when faced in person kind of disappointingly dowdyish, especially Sarasohn with his trademarked disheveled, unkempt old man look.

    They admitted almost nobody into the courtroom which they claimed was full but which in fact had still some room left. No overflow room with video feed (which is the standard practice in this and other local courts, for example during Mayfield trials)  was provided.

    Well our democracy in action in these difficult times.


    i thought the classic definition (none / 0) (#15)
    by cpinva on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 01:12:55 AM EST
    of "entrapment" was a government agent getting someone to do something that, left to their own devices, they would never have done. hence, setting up a sting operation, for a car theft ring isn't entrapment, because the car theft ring is clearly doing it already, and needs no external encouragement. in this case, it isn't at all clear that the kid would have, all on his own, considered this, absent the encouragement and support of the government agents.

    where is the bright line? or is there one? or do the courts just make it up as they go along?

    The FBI . . . (none / 0) (#16)
    by markpkessinger on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 08:42:19 PM EST
    A suggested new motto for the men in black:

    The FBI:  Fighting Terrorism Wherever We Foment It!