As City Hall gears up for another hearing this Thursday on the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, a longtime Portland progressive activist points out that the feds' efforts last week to convince City Council to rejoin the JTTF may have damaged their position in a high-profile terrorism case.
When Portland pulled out of the JTTF in 2005, the feds and the city agreed that the mayor get notification of terrorist threats. That never happened when the feds in November arrested Mohamed Osman Mohamud for an alleged attempt to blow up the annual Christmas-tree lighting in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Michael Munk, a retired political-science professor from Southwest Portland, points out in a recent email missive that in explaining why Mayor Sam Adams wasn't notified, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for Oregon were maneuvered into conceding that Mohamud never posed a threat.
That strikes quite a different tone from Mohamud's arrest last year, when the head of Portland's FBI office said "the threat was very real." The FBI says it had provided Mohamud with a fake bomb, then arrested him for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
"The reason why those supporters of the JTTF had to confess is that [City] Commissioner Randy Leonard had smoked them them out on a 2005 agreement that required [the feds] to inform the mayor regarding any terrorist threats," Munk writes.
Munk believes that admission "may be useful to the defense of the Somalia-born teenager who was targeted in the sting."