Federal agents went too far by setting up a 19-year-old Oregon man for the attempted bombing of a Christmas tree lighting in Portland, according to one Fox Business News host.
In a heated debate, Judge Andrew Napolitano, host of Freedom Watch, told Bill O’Reilly that “we will become East Germany if we prosecute people because of what they want.”
Mohamed Osman Mohamud was apparently set up by federal law enforcement officials who posed as radical Islamic fighters and lured the young man into a plot he believed would lead him to detonate a car bomb at an Oregon Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The bomb, provided by FBI agents, was “inert” and did not pose a threat to public safety, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Oregon.
Mohamud pleaded not guilty Monday and his attorneys indicated that they would likely use entrapment as a defense.
“If Mohamud’s lawyers can prove entrapment, the jury should find him not guilty,” O’Reilly admitted Tuesday.
“But I am very glad, very glad that the FBI is using stings like that,” O’Reilly continued. “Because there is no question there are terrorists on US soil looking for opportunities to kill Americans. I mean, what are the feds supposed to do? Ignore a guy looking to commit a terrorist act? Come on.”
“Where specifically am I going wrong?” O’Reilly asked Napolitano.
“You are wrong to say it’s a crime to harbor criminal intent,” Napolitano explained. “There are 4,000 criminal statutes. Anybody can contemplate in their mind breaking one and that’s not a crime.”
“The FBI picked an easy mark. The FBI trained him in the use of explosives. The FBI itself exploded illegal weapons in his presence to teach him how to do it and in doing so committed crimes. The FBI talked him into doing this and then got him to say well, ‘I was thinking about doing it before I met you guys.’ And then the FBI charges him with attempting to explode a device — a weapon of mass destruction? It was a truck filled with sawdust. It couldn’t have exploded,” Napolitano said.
“Let’s assume the FBI has on tape that they tried to dissuade him at times from doing this violent act,” O’Reilly posed. “He was bent on doing it but there was no violent act because they didn’t give him access to any weapon yet he was charged with wanting to use a weapon of mass destruction. If you’re sitting on the jury and you hear on the tape — putting your pinhead judge title aside — and you hear on the tape that the feds said, ‘You know, maybe you don’t want to do this.’ And the guy is adamant about doing it, do you vote to convict?”
“No. Because wanting to commit a crime is not the same as committing the crime,” Napolitano answered.
“We will become East Germany if we prosecute people for what they want,” Napolitano added. “Wanting to do evil is not a crime. It is a thought. We don’t punish thoughts in this country.”
This video is from Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, broadcast Nov. 30, 2010.