Last Friday, Mohamed Osman Mohamud parked what he thought was a car bomb within walking distance of my house. He chose Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Ore., during the annual lighting of our city’s Christmas tree, for his scene of mass murder. Twelve thousand people filled that square. Many, if not most, would have been injured or killed had undercover FBI agents not supplied him with a fake fuse.
The attack could have been even worse than 9/11.
Yet from the moment he was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy theorists in the bowels of the Internet have claimed the FBI ginned the plot up from nothing.
Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald doesn’t quite go that far, but he comes close. After writing a throat-clearing acknowledgment that the bureau may have acted legally, he speculates that the authorities may well have “found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a ‘terrorist plot’ which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction.”
This is the far left’s new line of argument nearly every time the feds nab a homegrown terrorist. Claim the would-be murderer had no ability to pull off the attack. Insist the government is trying to keep us afraid when, in fact, we have almost nothing to fear.
It’s a sickening reflex – one just as reprehensible as the claims of the “birthers” who baselessly smear President Obama.
How different is this story, really, from claiming 9/11 was “an inside job”? Both theories require you to believe our leaders manufacture threats that otherwise wouldn’t exist in order to justify the powers they say they need.