He wrote three articles, including one praising the content and presentation of al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Shabab Media.
The FBI began monitoring Mohamud's emails. In the summer of 2010 FBI undercover agents set up the first in a series of meetings with Mohamud, who talked about a dream in which he led a group of fighters into Afghanistan against "the infidels."
According to the prosecution's version of events, Mohamud's undercover handlers offered him several choices in the service of jihad. They ranged from simple prayer to full-on martyrdom. Mohamud chose a step short of killing himself, saying he wanted to "become operational," according to the FBI.
This, they say, should show that Mohamud was more than an unwitting teenager.
Journalist Trevor Aaronson found a common thread in such sting cases, documented in a forthcoming book, "The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism," which spends a chapter on elements of the Mohamud case.
"(The stings) all have minor variations, but they're all pretty much the same in that they involve people who don't have the capacity to commit the crimes" for which they're prosecuted, Aaronson said.
Aaronson said Mohamud didn't have access to bomb-making materials and, while he espoused anti-Western views, showed no capacity for carrying out acts of terror.
"If you're going to prosecute every loudmouth," Aaronson said, "our courts would be clogged."
Reach reporter Nigel Duara on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NigelDuaraPro
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