Jury hears Ore. terror suspect's dramatic takedown

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 19, 2013 at 3:14 am •  Published: January 19, 2013

If anyone radicalized him, his attorneys attest, it was the undercover FBI agents who convinced him they were members of al-Qaida that had chosen him as a promising recruit.

Jurors had by Friday heard the details of the undercover sting operation and testimony from the men who led it. "Youssef," another undercover agent testifying under a pseudonym, said he encountered an angry young man at the outset of the sting on July 30, 2010.

But "Youssef" said he didn't believe Mohamud was truly capable of violence. Not yet. It wasn't until an August 2010 meeting in which Mohamud picked the tree-lighting ceremony as a target that "Youssef" became concerned that he was dealing with a potentially dangerous person.

After that meeting on Aug. 19, 2010, at least one agent or handler left his or her recorder running. The agents were heard saying it was "fantastic" that Mohamud had identified a "sexy" terrorist target, according to transcripts of the meeting quoted by Mohamud's defense team.

That plays in direct contrast to the FBI agents' assertions that they kept hoping Mohamud would turn his back to violence and instead choose a different option offered by the agents: Pray five times daily, get an engineering degree, fundraise for al-Qaida.

Instead, they say, he insisted on becoming "operational," at first even asking to be a martyr before the agents talked him out of it. It was a theme that they said continued throughout the sting: Agents offered peaceful options, Mohamud repeatedly chose violence.

Even in the final minute of the final hour of the final day, parked in the train station lot, "Hussein" said Mohamud could have walked away.

"Was there any hesitation on his part?" asked prosecutor Pam Holsinger on Friday.

"None," Hussein said.

Holsinger paused.

"If he saw (the bomb) and said he didn't want to..." Holsinger said.

"If he did not dial the number," the agent said, "the directive was for us to drive him home."

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Reach reporter Nigel Duara on Facebook at http://bit.ly/RSmBei