Can Mohamed Osman Mohamud Get a Fair Trial?

Was the FBI growing its own terrorist?


I’m sure I wont be very popular for pondering the questions I will write about in this blog.

I have spent the past 24 hours speaking on national television, online, and on my national radio show about a 19 year old young man named Mohamed Osman Mohamud. A man many of you have come to know as the “would be bomber.”

We know this from the many radio, television, and online reports, the information provided to the press by the FBI. We know how the FBI helped to fund the plot to detonate a car bomb (allegedly), how operatives helped him find components needed to create a bomb and then schooled the 19-year-old (Somali born as we’re constantly reminded) how to set off the explosives.

We ponder whether he was entrapped or if the FBI was growing its own terrorist in the person of Mohamed Osman Mohamud. The authorities say this was a smart response with federal, state, and local law enforcement that resulted in preventing someone to do harm with a weapon of mass destruction. And I personally commend the FBI for thwarting a would-be terrorist attack. But here’s my problem: Would there have been an attack if funds, materials, the “how to” building of a bomb, etc. weren’t provided? And I also wonder, how many American-born non-Muslim’s would’ve taken the bait and pressed the imaginary button on the imaginary bomb believing they would be detonating a device sending perhaps thousands to their graves?

My problem with this is not the arrest. My problem with this is not the innocence or guilt of Mohamed. My problem with this is that Mohamed Osman Mohamud has been tried in the court of public opinion before a jury has been selected. And I have to ask you America, can this man get a fair trial? Truly?

And we also have to ask ourselves why law enforcement officials would go to such lengths to orchestrate such an elaborate attack? Is the fact that this individual is foreign a coincidence? And of course, Muslim? And as others have asked, why let this become the public stunt that it did and leave so many in Portland and throughout the United States in a state of fear? (Like we need more to be afraid of in post-9/11 America.)

In an age of transparency the affidavit turned into a press release. And the circus left those of us in the media salivating.

So what bothers me is where is Ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat? That’s Latin for the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty? It’s my legal right, it’s yours and like it or not, it’s Mohamed Osman Mohamud’s.

But I fear when we have allegations from law enforcement, combined with press releases, the word terrorist and a person who is Muslim with a Muslim name, that all goes out the window.

  • Read more about national security.
  • See a round up of editorial cartoons about air security.
  • See where members of Congress get their campaign money.