A 19-year-old Somali-American arrested on Friday by FBI in a plot to set off a car bomb during the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland,Or. KGW-TV/ HDTV “Northwest NewsChannel “ has details:
A law enforcement official says federal agents began investigating the suspect in the Christmas tree bombing plot in Portland, Ore., after receiving a tip from someone who was concerned about the teenager.
The official tells The Associated Press that Mohamed Osman Mohamud was acting on his own — without any instruction from a foreign terrorist organization.
KOIN-TV/DT “Local 6 News” say Mohamud who was raised in Beaverton became distant and aloof. Later he took a Anti-American turn:
Although he was finally arrested at age 19, allegedly after trying to explode a bomb amid thousands of people gathered for a Portland holiday ceremony, Mohamed Osman Mohamud had a history of unrest and activism which apparently had drawn the interest of federal agents.
A Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen, Mohamud had shown interest in activism at least since his earlier teen-age years.
He is a graduate of Beaverton’s Westview High School, after which he enrolled at Oregon State University in Corvallis. He frequented the Salmon Al-Farsi Islamic Center in Corvallis, but stopped attending classes at the university in early October.
During his high school and college days, Mohamud grew increasingly active, at least once managed to catch the attention of the FBI in a separate incident. A posting on Gawker.com depicts Mohamud as a “Rapping Teen Fitness Guru, with a colorful past as a burgeoning jihadi.”
Attendees were in shock and disbelief about the bomb plot KATU-TV/DT “Channel 2 News” has learned:
The story mimics one a month ago in Virginia and a year ago in Dallas. But this story of FBI-fed would-be bombers happened right here in Portland.
On Friday night authorities took 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud into custody after he allegedly tried blowing up a van he believed was loaded with explosives. That van was parked at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at downtown Portland’s Pioneer Square – an annual event that draws thousands of people into “Portland’s living room.”
Now, people who live, work and play in downtown Portland are just learning about the arrest. And many we talked with were shocked that this plot could have happened right here under their nose.
“I’m out here visiting family,” said David Lemon, walking around downtown on this balmy Saturday. “…You think of terrorism [and] you think it’s somewhere else. But here it is.”
Even people who work across the street had no idea.
“I was actually really shocked,” said Linda Schwab, who works across the street.
Portland Mayor Samuel Adams learned of the plot about 9PM local time. From “Local 6 News”:
Mayor Sam Adams says he was notified of the FBI’s arrest of a bombing-attempt suspect at about 9 p.m. Friday. He praised law enforcement efforts, and assured the public that authorities were in control of the situation, the bomb was a fake, and that any perceived danger is over.
In an interview with KOIN Local 6 News, Adams says the suspect, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, “really was serious, and had taken secific actions that caused (police) to believe that, if given the opportunity to get his hands on a weapon, that he was going to use it.” He also talked about concerns over entrapment, possible accomplices, the law enforcement investigation, street safety in Portland and more (see the video interview attached to this story).
Here are highlights of that interview:
Adams: “The world trauma, the world events have come to our doorstep, or luckily, have had the potential to come to our doorstep.
Question: Rate law enforcement’s response.
Adams: “I think this was a really smart response with the federal, sate and local law enforcement that resulted in preventing someone with what looks like clear criminal intent to do harm, to do harm with a weapon of mass destruction. I think the partnership worked really well”
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