The toast of Portland, Oregon

A 360 degree panorama of Pioneer Courthouse Sq...Image via Wikipedia
Byron York:

"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.

They made brave statements. "Here in Portland, we are not willing to give up individual liberties in order to have a perception of safety," city commissioner Randy Leonard told reporters a few days before the vote. Yet there was still a little note of concern in Mayor Potter's words: What if there were a terrorist attack after we refused to work with the FBI to prevent it?

Last Friday, that nearly happened. FBI undercover agents arrested would-be jihadi Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year old Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen, in connection with a plot to set off an enormous car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square. Mohamud told the agents he wanted to stage a "spectacular show" in which hundreds, perhaps thousands of Portlanders would die. He also said he wasn't worried about getting caught because the authorities in Portland "don't see it as a place where anything will happen."

The people of Portland could have suffered a terrible fate because of their paranoia about the Bush administration. These politicians deserve to be toast. They will now probably join the task force after it has saved their citizens and because there is a Democrat in the Presidency. They have shown themselves to be partisan dunces.
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