The Portland plot: A win for the FBI

In this new Oregon plot, Mohamud managed to email people in Pakistan who are, indeed, suspected terror trainers—and whose communications clearly have been tapped. The Feds watched Mohamud’s emails as he was handed off from one Pakistani contact to another. Then he was dropped by the real bad guys. Presumably, they didn’t trust him. That’s when the Feds moved in, masquerading as new terrorist contacts, and looking to see if Mohamud would go all the way with a domestic bombing, which he did.

Mohamud sounds like a mad dog, and putting him out of action is probably a good thing any way you cut it. But the real impact of this case is to tell anyone thinking of carrying out violent jihad, abroad or at home, that Big Brother, er, Uncle Sam is watching. Like so much in the shadow land of terror-counterterror, that message is at once comforting and discomfiting.