You always have to be a little careful about these "entrapment" cases where the feds pose as terrorists in order to trick someone to carry out a criminal act. Thanks to the Patriot Act, the courts give the authorities a little more leeway in this regard when it comes to terrorist cases.
And the kid who was arrested for trying to blow up the Portland, Oregon tree lighting ceremony seems to have been deadly serious in his intent. He had been in contact with terrorists overseas and wrote articles for a web site advocating jihad. Thankfully, the FBI had been tracking him after he expressed a desire to go to Pakistan and become "operational."
The feds then wormed their way into the communications network:
Mohamud and the FBI operative agreed to meet in Portland a month later. Mohamud allegedly told the FBI operative that he had written articles that were published in Jihad Recollections, an online magazine that advocated holy war.
Mohamud also indicated he intended to become "operational," meaning he wanted to put an explosion together but needed help. The two met again in August 2010 in a Portland hotel.
"During this meeting, Mohamud explained how he had been thinking of committing some form of violent jihad since the age of 15," the affidavit says. "Mohamud then told (the FBI operatives) that he had identified a potential target for a bomb: the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26, 2010."
The FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of his plan, noting that there would be many people, including children, at the event, and that Mohamud could abandon his plans at any time with no shame.
"You know there's going to be a lot of children there?" an FBI operative asked Mohamud. "You know there are gonna be a lot of children there?"
Mohamud allegedly responded he was looking for a "huge mass that will ... be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays."
You wonder how many Mohamuds there are out there. It only takes one of them to be successful to cause a lot of damage this holiday season.