The TSA may be a useless invasive bureaucracy that has never caught a single terrorist, but the FBI knows what it’s doing.
A Somalia-born terrorist tried to detonate a massive car bomb at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square, within walking distance of my house, but undercover agents sabotaged him before he could get there by giving him a fake trigger.
“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.”
“I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured,” Mohamud reportedly told the FBI operatives, the affidavit says.
Good riddance to bad rubbish then.
UPDATE: On the other hand, I just received the following letter.
I work in intelligence, and I am constantly amazed at how people often don’t realize the real work TSA does every day. Out of all of the federal security, law enforcement, and intelligence organization, the TSA has the most encounters with actual terrorists and terrorist associates on a daily basis. The put out daily reports that I read detailing the past, current, and future travel patterns of terrorists both in CONUS and OCONUS. Just being able to know exactly who is coming into, through, or out of your area of operation, where they are going, and when they are going, is worth all the groping and bad publicity, at least in my mind. I’ve been able to shed light on cases for the FBI by providing them with timely TSA intelligence reports they weren’t getting elsewhere. And for every granny they stop and frisk, there’s a Samir Khan who is getting additional screening without realizing it.
I know I’m out of tune with a lot of people right now, but I just know the type of valuable information TSA Office of Intelligence puts out, and I don’t want to lose that.
And I don’t work for TSA. I work for the State of [redacted] doing homeland security and counterterrorism work.