22of The Worst Terrorist Plots were Hatched by the F.B.I.
ByDAVID K. SHIPLER, NYTimes
THE United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recentyears — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on hisway to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles atmilitary aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea tofly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatchedin Massachusetts.
But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agentsand informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives,a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played theirparts until they were arrested.
When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a carbomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, theF.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of “inert material,”harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel to makethe van smell flammable. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, withMr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched anumber into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust