Thursday, January 27, 2005

"I have here in my hand a list of 205 names of Communists ... "

So began the illustrious career of one Joseph McCarthy, Senator and scourge of communists everywhere. Of course, the fact that he didn't really have such a list in his hands was besides the point. The communist menace was everywhere and it was necessary to keep people jumping at shadows in order to allow him to fight the enemies of America.

Joe McCarthy, meet FBI agent Charles Jordan:

"Jihadists" living in Oregon, FBI says

PORTLAND — The FBI knows of "jihadists" who have trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan and are now living in Oregon, the agency's Oregon chief said in an interview with The Associated Press yesterday.

"We don't have an imminent threat that we're aware of. But I will say this: We have people here in Oregon that have trained in jihadist camps in bad areas. In the bad neighborhoods of the world," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jordan.

Asked what he meant by "bad neighborhoods," he said Afghanistan, as well as several other countries he would not specify.

During the session with The AP, which lasted nearly two hours, Jordan discussed a wide range of themes — from his agents' participation in the Bush administration's war on terrorism to the upcoming opening of a Portland laboratory for forensic work on computers seized from suspects.

Jordan refused to say how many "jihadists" live in Oregon.

He said the FBI knows "they've trained overseas, taken oaths to kill Americans and engage in jihad," but the challenge is "to prove those things."

Jordan contrasted the known "jihadists" living in Oregon with the so-called "Portland Seven," a group of seven Portland-area people accused of plotting to wage war against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. One of them was killed in combat; the six others returned to Oregon, where they eventually pleaded guilty to all the charges against them.

The reporter says Jordan contrasted his claims with the "Portland Seven" case, but the report doesn't give the details of that contrast. Which leaves open the question of why, if the FBI could arrest the "Portland Seven" on suspicion of training with al Qaeda, then why can't they these alleged "jihadists" if they know for a fact that they have participated in similar training?

The background that is missing in this report is the fact that the Portland City Council is seriously considering a proposal to drop out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The record of their participation has been mixed at best and there is a lot of lingering anger over the Brandon Mayfield case (the lawyer for the Portland Seven who was briefly arrested by the FBI because of a fuckup involving misidentified fingerprints) . Randy Leonard, one member of the city council, has already said he would vote in favor of this proposal.

The timing of this kind of report is suspicious to say the least.

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