By ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight
What a difference a close call makes.
A Muslim jihadist targeted Portland, Oregon for a bombing that could have killed as many as 12,000 people at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the day after Thanksgiving. Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) after he tried to trigger what he thought was a bomb that would have killed thousands in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26.
It was only five years ago that under goading by the ACLU, Portland's liberal city officials pulled out of that task force. An ACLU press release crowed:
"Portland has stricken a blow against government secrecy by deciding to pull out of the JTTF," said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU. "We hope other towns will demand full transparency before agreeing to join JTTFs."
In light of this very same task force sparing Portland an unthinkable tragedy, notes a Washington Times editorial, "City fathers now are considering rejoining the JTTF structure, citing the change in leadership under the purportedly more trustworthy Obama administration. It's more likely that the near miss clarified Portland's ivory-tower view of the world."
Indeed, Portland is so liberal that the city's Website for the Courthouse Square has no mention of Christmas at all, referring only to "The Tree" that kicks off "the Winter Season."
The Times notes that although the reason given for the pullout from the JTTF at the time was concern that city police would operate under another authority, creating liability issues, political correctness was more likely the driving force. The 2005 ACLU release noted:
'"There is now ample evidence that several FBI task forces elsewhere have targeted individuals because of their political or religious affiliations,' ACLU of Oregon Executive Director David Fidanque said."
The reason that little blonde girls from Maine and black Christian grandmothers from Cleveland face X-rated body scans or pat downs at the nation's airports is because of this kind of institutional insanity that says all passengers are equally suspect. Never mind that terror has been nearly the exclusive province of young, Muslim males. As the Times points out:
Not all political and religious affiliations are equally legitimate, and some need to be targeted. ...When confronting groups motivated by a terrorist ideology based on Islam, religious affiliations have to be taken into account. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but a radical Muslim terrorist is a Muslim by definition. Ignoring that fact deprives the FBI of key insights into the motivations, objectives and tactics of members of this violent subculture.
Given the wakeup call last month, we wonder how influential the ACLU will be the next time there's a security issue facing Portland. Perhaps they will ask them politely to step into the next room for some Winter Season eggnog while city officials get down to business.