The White House is desperate to find concrete examples of threats to support their argument for the necessity of their immigration travel ban. While the executive order claims “hundreds” of refugees have been charged with terror, it only cites two specific examples. One of them, a 2014 bombing attempt in Oregon, was actually foiled by refugees.
The perpetrator was caught and sentenced to 30 years in prison, and was described in the order as “a native of Somalia who had been brought to the United States as a child refugee and later became a naturalized United States citizen.*”
Mohamed Mohamud, the attempted bomber, was targeting a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony, but before he could even get material for the bomb, federal agents had him caught up in a sting. What the order does not mention, however, is how the feds caught wind of this would-be terror tragedy.
“The assistance of the refugee community was crucial to this investigation,” prosecutor Dwight Houlton said to Portland’s Patch.com. “His radicalization had precisely nothing to do with his refugee status,” he added. In fact, one of the informants was Mohamed’s own father.
Of course, this runs counter to the narrative pushed by the White House and in concert with the arguments made by the ban’s critics. They point out that the refugee and Muslim communities are key parts of the process in successfully foiling any plans by radicalized people to do harm.
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*Author’s Note: Again, for what is labeled as a “temporary” ban, it seems to be making the same argument as the DHS report on the ban: no amount of vetting could have predicted this person’s actions.