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Will Portland Rejoin JTTF After Terror Takedown?

Glenn Greenwald summarizes the missing media narrative in his Salon article this morning entitled “The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot.” I recommend reading it all (ad click-through required). He brings motive to the fore: like almost every ‘terror’ suspect groomed by the FBI and then apprehended in America, 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud talked about retaliation for the United States bringing war to Muslims and his awful

apathy — and even delight — at the prospect that this bomb would kill innocent people, including children.

While his motive (killing innocents in retaliation for innocent Muslims being killed in their home countries) is blacked-out in media reports of this “successful terror takedown,” another actor in the drama may have had a motive worth examining as well: the federal government, whose Joint Terrorism Task Force could no longer coordinate with the Portland Police Bureau after a 4-1 City Council vote five years ago. Among those voting in the majority was now-Mayor and Police Commissioner Sam Adams, who seemed (to say the least) embarrassed to admit that he knew nothing about Friday’s bombing “attempt” until summoned to the Portland FBI office to be briefed — almost three hours after Mohamud’s arrest.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese have discussed for months whether Portland should rejoin the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a multi-agency group that investigated Friday’s failed plot to set off a bomb downtown.

Five years ago, Portland became the first city in the nation to withdraw from the FBI-led task force.

Why did Portland withdraw from the JTTF five years ago?

In April 2005, the City Council, led by then-Mayor Tom Potter, voted 4-1 to withdraw its two police officers from the federal task force. Potter cited the potential for trespasses against civil liberties and an inability to oversee Portland officers who would be deputized as federal agents. Commissioner Dan Saltzman cast the lone vote against withdrawal.

Adams, who voted among the majority five years ago, emphasized that he has much more faith in the White House and the leadership of the U.S. attorney’s office now than he did in 2005. He added the current partnership seems to be working well.

There’s very little more humiliating to an elected official than having the federal government operating with impunity, especially at the city’s largest cold-weather public gathering, without being told:

Adams did not know about the plot to detonate a bomb at the tree lighting at Pioneer Courthouse Square until after Mohamed Osman Mohamud’s arrest Friday night.


Adams, who serves as police commissioner, said he wasn’t aware of the case until 9:15 p.m. Friday when he was called to Portland’s FBI headquarters for a briefing. The mayor said he would have been notified if the bomb threat had been real.

He said the protocol was the same followed by former Mayor Vera Katz when he served as her chief of staff.

“On these international terrorism investigations, it’s top secret, limited to select law enforcement circles,” Adams said.

And our new civil-liberties-protecting overlords in Washington, DC, led by Constitutional Scholar Barack Obama, are so much more careful than their predecessors, never trampling on or entrapping US citizens in their nefarious and self-serving plots. If this Terror Theater drives the rogue Portland City Council back into the hands of the all-protecting federal government’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, it will have been money well-spent, I suppose.

Nothing like finding motive among all the “terror plotters.”

Note: I would have had this post up hours earlier, but I’ve spent my morning on the telephone with my very worried mother in Virginia, who opened her Washington Post this morning to the huge headline “FBI Foils Portland Terror Plot.” Thanks, FBI; your plan to terrorize Americans worked!

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