In 2005 the City Council of Portland, Oregon voted against supporting Homeland Security measures in favor of showing preference to Muslims living in the city. The concern was that Muslims would be targeted and city monies would be used in that pursuit. The City Council vote claimed, sanctimoniously, to protect the civil liberties of the Muslim community. It was political correctness at its worst and meant to politicize the security policies of the George W. Bush administration. It has come back to haunt them and clearly shown the risk at which the liberal temper tantrum placed the residents of the area.
Monitoring and arresting the Portland man, Somali born American Mohamed Osman Mohamud, was solely an operation run by the FBI. There was no joint force work done with the City of Portland.
Portland was the only city to opt-out of directives from the Department of Homeland Security for new cooperation between the FBI and city police forces on gathering intelligence. The Joint Terrorism Task Force, a cooperative effort between local police and the FBI to battle terrorist threats and plans.
"I was recently told by a media person that if something happens in this city, I'm toast."
So said Tom Potter, mayor of Portland, Oregon, on April 28, 2005 as he and the city council voted to bar Portland police from participating in one of the federal government's key anti-terrorism initiatives, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. In Portland's deep-blue precincts, there was intense opposition to the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terror; residents worried the task force might violate state anti-discrimination laws by targeting Muslims for their religious and political views. So city leaders forbade police from taking part in it.
Mohamud intended to detonate a huge car bomb into a large crowd in the city's town square as the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony took place. The fact that there were lots of women and children in attendance sweetened the deal for him. He intended the event to be something "spectacular". Fortunately, he was unknowingly working with FBI agents instead of real terrorists in the planning of the event.
The very FBI task force that the city batted away as a stand against the Bush administration and its Joint Terrorism Task Force. The very people the city council in Portland, Oregon assumed would destroy civil liberties in the name of homeland security saved their city from a horrific event. Instead of scrapping body parts off the sidewalk, they are now re-considering their blind political ideology.
All but one city council member voted against joining the task force. They should all be sending muffin and fruit baskets with long and sincere notes of thanks to the FBI today. Even naive and short-sighted politicians deserve protection.