Jurors in the trial of a Portland man accused of trying to bomb Portland's holiday tree-lighting ceremony watched video of the defendant telling two undercover FBI agents he had started thinking about jihad before he turned 15 years old.
The clips were shown while one of the undercover agents was on the stand. His testimony will continue Tuesday morning.
Mohamed Mohamud, now 21, is facing one charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction for the November 2010 incident. His trial began last week.
Much of the day was taken up by testimony from FBI Special Agent Miltiatis Trousas, who was the co-case agent, meaning he oversaw the investigation into Mohamud.
He testified heavy surveillance of the then-teenager started in late 2009 and including monitoring of his emails, text messages and phone calls.
Trousas said one email Mohamud sent in May 2010 was "of great concern" and pushed the FBI to start an undercover operation.
"We needed to know what was going on," he said.
The email reads, "The products were wonderful. I received them in good time and in great condition. I was wondering if you were an associate of brother amr ali who also sells electronics."
It was sent in reply to a spam email, but Trousas said agents believed Mohamud was trying to reach an Al-Qaeda recruiter named Abdul Hadi.
Trousas said agents were concerned that Mohamud was in communication with "dangerous people" overseas. He cited Mohamud's email correspondence with a man named Amro Alali, wanted at the time by authorities in Saudi Arabia for terrorism-related activities, and Samir Kahn, the publisher of an Islamic extremist magazine called "Jihad Recollections."
They were also concerned by an email Mohamud sent to a friend in January 2010, in which he asks a friend to "make dua [pray]that I will be a martyr in the highest chambers of paradise."
The defense is arguing Mohamud was an impressionable teenager who was entrapped by the FBI.
During cross examination, chief defense attorney Stephen Sady pressed Trousas about an email an FBI colleague sent, referring to Mohamud as "conflicted and manipulable."
Trousas said the email existed, but stressed that he viewed Mohamud as "radicalized."
Under cross-examination, Trousas confirmed agents found no evidence Mohamud attempted to obtain explosives or searched for information on bomb-making or explosives prior to meeting with undercover FBI agents.
Sady also pressed Trousas, who helped write emails to Mohamud posing as an Al-Qaeda recruiter, about the content of emails.
He asked if Trousas used "soft words" and religious phrases to appeal to Mohamud.
Trousas said he was mimicking the ways Alali and Kahn addressed Mohamud.
"What was I supposed to say in email," the agent asked. "The FBI wants to meet with you?"
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