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Feds Contacted “Portland Bomber” One Year Earlier

5:43 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Federal prosecutors have revealed that a US employee they call “Bill Smith” contacted alleged ‘Portland Bomber’ Mohamed Mohamud almost a year prior to his actions with another FBI co-conspirator that led to the so-called ‘failed bomb plot’ at Portland’s Christmas tree ceremony last November.

Federal prosecutors acknowledge that a man they identified as “Bill Smith” sent emails to Mohamud in late 2009 and that he was working on behalf of the government. But they say the emails were unrelated to the attempted bombing.

“On the contrary,” Mohamud’s defense team wrote in court papers, “the correspondence between Bill Smith and (Mohamud) demonstrates that Smith was acting as an agent provocateur, attempting to encourage (Mohamud) to engage in violent activity in this country.”

It’s beginning to seem as if the Feds knew they had got their man, and only needed to generate a violent plot around him to save thousands of lives from danger they managed to make up for Mohamed to implement, with their extensive assistance. Fixing data about an alleged crime around an identified alleged perpetrator, if you will.

Mohamud’s defense team contends that Smith began an email exchange with their client on Nov. 9, 2009, initiating a discussion of violence in the U.S. But Mohamud took no action, they wrote, which shows that he wasn’t predisposed to violence when first contacted by the government agent.

Mohamud’s lawyers are clearly preparing to mount an illegal entrapment defense. One way to do that is to show their client was steered, from his first conversation with the FBI, into a crime he ordinarily wouldn’t commit.

Since the subsequent July conversation is no longer available due to battery failure in the FBI device used to record it, and since the initial conversation with a government agent is critical to the prosecution’s contention that the suspect was not entrapped, this newly revealed email exchange with a government employee acting on the FBI’s behalf, to which Mohamed made no response of a violent nature, could be very important to his defense.

It certainly is looking as if the FBI’s showcase “apprehension” and prosecution (initially timed with Portland’s decision to rejoin the Joint Terror Task Force on the Feds’ terms) only has run into trouble.

FBI’s “Portland Bomb Plot” Plot Bombs Over Dead Batteries

10:32 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

The most important rebuttal against a defendant’s accusation of entrapment, especially when government agents have, over time and through multiple meetings, provided the means and methods of the charged crime, is the first conversation with the accused. As long as the defendant willfully expresses in his first conversation with government agents his clear intent to commit the crime that is later developed with their assistance, the agents are usually secure in their statements that they did not entrap an otherwise innocent person with no intent to commit the eventual crime.

It is very important, therefore, that there be a contemporaneous record of that first conversation, in which the defendant expresses directly and through unambiguous tone his intent and willingness to commit a crime. It is only by using that record that the government agents can rebut the accusation of entrapment.

In today’s world, that record is expected to be an actual recording of the conversation. Which brings us to the filing Thursday in federal court in Portland, where Mohamed Mohamed and his attorneys, and the judge trying the case, heard for the first time what, exactly, happened to the recording supposedly made by the FBI during agents’ first conversation with him.

The FBI’s attempt in July to record Mohamed Mohamud’s first words about taking part in a bombing failed because a recorder ran out of juice, government prosecutors revealed in court papers Thursday.

“Put simply,” they wrote, “it was human error: the device was accidentally turned on hours before the meeting time and therefore ran out of battery power as the meeting began.”

Luckily, lots of other FBI agents, listening through their earpieces, heard the conversation and are prepared to testify to Mohamed’s predisposition to commit a crime that would hurt innocent Portlanders. I’m sure the accused’s defense will be happy with this second-hand evidence of their client’s guilt, provided by government agents with no stake in the case’s outcome.

Especially since there’s extensive documentation regarding the dead batteries:

The government has provided Mohamud’s defense team with extensive documentation about why that conversation wasn’t recorded, prosecutors wrote.

An FBI agent typed up a report, based on his raw notes, on all the meetings between Mohamud and the bureau’s undercover operatives, including the July 30 conversation, according to the government’s filing.

Or, you know, maybe not.

FBI Has “Clarity” in Identity of Who Placed Spokane Bomb

2:13 pm in Government, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

Backpack from attempted MLK Day bombing in Spokane, WA. (photo: FBI--detail)

The FBI announced today that while there’s “a lot of work ahead” they have achieved “clarity” in their investigation for a suspect in the bomb placed on Spokane’s Martin Luther King parade route on Monday.

Federal investigators indicated today that they have made progress in their efforts to identify the person or persons who left a bomb Monday along the route of the planned Martin Luther King Jr. march.

“We’ve obtained quite a bit of clarity” as to the identity of those believed to be responsible, said Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the Spokane office of the FBI. “But we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

The FBI continues to seek leads from the public in the case, which resulted in the re-routing of the King parade commemoration as well as the clearing of several city blocks and business closures while the bomb squad defused the bomb.

Earlier this week, investigators sent the bomb — which other security sources said could have been detonated by a remote triggering device — to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va.

Harrill has indicated that evidence from that analysis — which could take several days — may be needed before investigators levy charges against any potential suspects.

An anonymous official familiar with the case but not authorized to speak about the investigation yesterday provided a very scary off-the-record quote to the Associated Press:

“They haven’t seen anything like this in this country,” the official said. “This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I’ve ever seen.”

I marvel at the lack of attention to this case after America’s Legacy Media went wall-to-wall in November over the Portland ‘bomber’ at our city’s Xmas tree lighting. Maybe we only need to wait for a suspect to be in custody before the current case in Spokane — where there was a real bomb with real, or even historic, lethality — gets that same kind of attention.

Potentially Lethal Backpack Bomb Defused on Spokane MLK Parade Route

1:54 pm in Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

The pictured backpack contained explosives and the two t-shirts shown. (photo courtesy of the FBI)

Yesterday, in Spokane, Washington, a ‘potentially lethal destructive device‘ concealed in a backpack on the route of the Martin Luther King parade was disarmed and destroyed before anyone in or viewing the parade was hurt.

A suspicious backpack discovered along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march in Spokane contained a bomb “capable of inflicting multiple casualties,” the FBI said Tuesday.

The FBI said the bomb was found about 9:25 a.m. PST on Monday on a bench at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue in downtown Spokane.

A bomb disposal unit neutralized the device. The FBI said is a statement that “the backpack contained a potentially deadly destructive device, likely capable of inflicting multiple casualties.”

A reward has been offered for information regarding the device in the backpack:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s terrorism task force is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for planting the bomb. The FBI on Tuesday issued a bulletin asking for the public’s assistance.

Frank Harrill, special agent in the charge of the Spokane FBI office, would not discuss what specifically made the bomb so dangerous but said the investigation has become a top priority.

“It definitely was, by all early analysis, a viable device that was very lethal and had the potential to inflict multiple casualties,” Harrill said. “Clearly, the timing and placement of a device _ secreted in a backpack _ with the Martin Luther King parade is not coincidental. We are doing everything humanly possible to identify the individuals or individual who constructed and placed this device.”

There was more than a bomb in the backpack:

The bomb was discovered in a Swiss Army-brand backpack that was placed on a park bench at 9:25 a.m. at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue.

Two T-shirts were located in the bag. One reads “Stevens County Relay For Life June 25th-26th 2010” and another shirt reads “Treasure Island Spring 2009.” The FBI is working with other federal agencies and virtually all local police agencies with the investigation as part of the Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The FBI isn’t saying whether the current investigation has any links to a previous bomb discovered last year in Spokane:

Meanwhile, federal investigators continue to investigate an explosive device that was discovered March 23 alongside the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse. Harrill said agents have not made an arrest in that previous case.

“We don’t know, at this point, of any linkage to any other incident,” Harrill said, referring to the Monday discovery. “We are not aware of any other events that prefaced this event … or threats associated with this device. Nor does it appear to be linked to any other incidents in Spokane or anywhere else in the country. But, that certainly is a focus for us.”

Holder to Muslims Re Stings: Get Used to It

1:14 pm in Executive Branch, Government, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

Attorney General Eric Holder took his “Get Used to It” entrapment justification tour directly to the enemy this week. He headed to Marin County — gosh, why does that sound familiar, oh, right, that’s where they breed the American Taliban! — to address the annual meeting of Muslim Advocates, a group with two scary words in its name.

(I wonder if they have a gay non-advocacy auxiliary called Fierce Muslim Advocates?)

Anyway, Holder told this national group of Muslims who advocate that when it comes to stings, they better get used to it:

In a 20-minute speech delivered in this suburb of San Francisco at the annual dinner of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and civil-rights organization, Mr. Holder rejected criticism by such groups that sting operations amount to improper “entrapment.”

Using Team Obama’s patented “you don’t have your facts straight” defense against critics, AG Holder told the group they need to look out for sting-y Feebs:

Mr. Holder was given a standing ovation as he took the stage, and many applauded during his speech. But the room fell silent for several minutes while Mr. Holder defended the sting operation in an Oregon bombing attempt last month, calling it a “successful undercover operation” and not a case of entrapment. Those who think otherwise, he said, “simply do not have their facts straight.”

Also, the feds will be on the alert for terror against Muslims, which oddly seems to follow big Terror Theatre™ productions by the FBI’s JTTF:

“I believe that law enforcement has an obligation to ensure that members of every religious community enjoy the ability to worship and to practice their faith in peace, free from intimidation, violence or suspicion,” Mr. Holder said.

Seeing no contradiction, Holder went on:

But he also rejected criticism of some counterterrorism techniques used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including sending informants into mosques in search of would-be terrorists and creating elaborate sting operations enabling them to carry out fake attacks using dummy bombs.

Because nothing says “we’re going to let you practice your faith in peace” more than recruiting your children into Terror Theater™ productions they couldn’t possibly carry out without the Feeb’s active intervention. Nothing says “ability to worship freely” like sending informants into mosques. Nothing says that you’re “free from intimidation” like putting you on a watch list to prevent you from accepting a job elsewhere in America. Nothing says “free from suspicion” like isolating children from their loving families through fake-jihad recruitment, cash payments, and provision of Terror Theater™ techniques and traps.

Eric Holder may have thought his speech would make him friends, but the organization’s president, Farhana Khera, has his number:

Ms. Khera emphasized that Muslim Advocates recognized that “there are actual threats that do exist and as Americans who care about the country, we want law enforcement to be effective.”

But the complex “entrapment operations,” she contended, may be getting people involved in terrorism who otherwise would not have done anything. She also argued that the operations divert investigators from “actual threats” and stoke “anti-Muslim sentiment.”

If the FBI spends resources developing Terror Theater™ productions with individuals unlikely or incapable of bringing threats to fruition or reality, then those resources are unavailable to track and identify actual terror threats. And Terror Theatre™ provokes actual terror — terror against Muslims — that the FBI must investigate.

All in all, though, from a bureaucrats’ perspective, Terror Theatre™, the responses to it, and the need to respond to the resultant terror make for a bigger budget request next year. Win!

Entrapment: NYT Examines the State of Play

4:40 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Concurrent with the federal public defender prominently mentioning “potential entrapment” as well as “grooming by the FBI” at Mohamed Mohamud’s first court appearance Monday in Portland, OR, New York Times reporters Eric Schmitt and Charlie Savage examine the overall state of entrapment in federal anti-terrorist cases.

Using the Portland arrest as a framework for their review of similar cases, the Times reporters dutifully present the law enforcement angle and quote Attorney General Eric Holder, who seems well-read into Mohamud’s case, extensively:

But law enforcement officials said on Monday that agents and prosecutors had carefully planned the tactics used in the undercover operation that led to the arrest of the Somali-born teenager, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a naturalized United States citizen. They said that Mr. Mohamud was given several opportunities to vent his anger in ways that would not be deadly, but that he refused each time.

“I am confident that there is no entrapment here, and no entrapment claim will be found to be successful,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Monday. “There were, as I said, a number of opportunities that the subject in this matter, the defendant in this matter, was given to retreat, to take a different path. He chose at every step to continue.”

Mr. Holder called the sting operation, in which Mr. Mohamud was under the scrutiny of federal agents for nearly six months, “part of a forward-leaning way in which the Justice Department, the F.B.I., our law enforcement partners at the state and local level are trying to find people who are bound and determined to harm Americans and American interests around the world.”

The article carefully points out that this ‘forward-leaning strategy’ requires a first conversation, documented and memorialized, showing the intention and inclination of the FBI’s target:

The government’s 36-page affidavit filed in the Oregon case lays out a crucial conversation between Mr. Mohamud and an F.B.I. informer at their first meeting, on July 30, 2010. According to the affidavit, the informer suggested five ways that Mr. Mohamud could help the cause of Islam, some of which were peaceful, like proselytizing, and some of which were violent and illegal.

Mr. Mohamud, the affidavit said, immediately picked a violent crime: becoming “operational,” by which he said he meant putting together a car bomb. The informer then offered to put Mr. Mohamud in touch with an explosives expert, setting off the chain of events that led to his eventual arrest.

The problem for the prosecution is, of course, that this conversation is unavailable in anything but affidavit form. The recording was either not preserved or, as the prosecution claims, was never created due to equipment malfunction. Mohamud’s defense attorney’s asked that the equipment used in all recordings be preserved; the federal prosecutor asked that the defense be more specific in its request.

As Schmitt and Savage clarify:

The question of how far the police may go in inducing the subject of an investigation to commit a crime turns on whether the facts show that the defendant was already predisposed to carry out a crime should the occasion arise.

This would make that first conversation, and a recording thereof, particularly critical, in that subsequent actions hinge on it. Without knowing — or being able to hear for themselves — that a defendant initiated discussion of violent acts while dismissing other less widespread damage, it may be difficult or even impossible for a reasonable jury to conclude that the defendant was not entrapped.

There are, of course, rules:

The Justice Department also has rules on how far investigators may go in facilitating a subject’s criminal activity. The F.B.I.’s domestic operations guide, which was overhauled in 2008, notes that courts have found it to be “legally objectionable” when government agents lead a political or religious group “into criminal activity that otherwise probably would not have occurred.”

The guide also has a long section of rules on what undercover agents and confidential informers can and cannot do, but it is almost entirely redacted from a publicly released version of the document.

Secret rules we cannot see.

One wonders how much of this rules section might be un-redacted for a jury tasked with considering exactly these issues at trial.

And here’s the crux of the issue. The government interprets its own rules and has apparently judicial backing for their interpretation:

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a would-be terrorist who has expressed his desire to launch an attack, or a would-be drug dealer who has indicated an interest in moving a kilo of crack cocaine,” said Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s national security division. “So long as that person has expressed an interest in committing a crime, it’s appropriate for the government to respond by providing the purported means of carrying out that crime so as to make a criminal case against him.”

Law enforcement seems to believe that they can place any resources at the disposal of a desirous would-be terrorist, regardless of the likelihood that individual would be able to access such resources without their intervention, in order to further the conspiracy they’ve engaged in — even if it’s a radicalizing and grooming of a teen whose parents fled Mogadishu to provide him with a life, and education, and job prospects (foiled by our own federal government). Even if it’s giving him money for a hideout apartment. Even if it entails providing him with a list of Radio Shack “bomb components.” Even if it means renting the ominous white van and loading it with fake bomb materials and a gallon of smelly diesel fuel. Even if it’s handing the suspect a cell phone, and the phone number to call to detonate the bomb. Even if it’s providing a passport for escape across the border by train.

Even if it’s saving a parking space on a crowded downtown streetcorner at Christmastime.

Arson Fire at Oregon Mosque “Terror Suspect” Mohamud Attended

11:59 am in Executive Branch, Government by Teddy Partridge

In a sadly predictable followup to Portland’s “terror takedown” a fire was intentionally set at the mosque in Corvallis, Oregon, attended by Portland bomb plot suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud.

The fire was reported at about 2:15 a.m. today. Corvallis Fire Department spokeswoman Carla Pusateri said the fire was intentionally set, but would not say what led investigators to the conclusion.

Pusateri said a police sergeant on duty spotted the fire at 2:15 a.m. and called for help.

“It was discovered much sooner than it could have been,” she said.

This may be one more plank in the probable campaign to drive Portland back into the arms of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Real terrorism, real arson, real hate: will the FBI be called in to investigate the real terror, or do they just do Terror Theater now?