Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested Friday in downtown Portland after using a cell phone to try to detonate what he thought were explosives in a van.
It turned out to be a dummy bomb put together by FBI agents, and authorities said the public was never in danger.
In the Portland plot, Mohamud believed he was receiving help from a larger ring of jihadists as he communicated with undercover agents, however, government agents were not allowed to discuss of the terrorist plans that Mohamud planned on carrying out.
An official said Mohamud planned the details, including where to park the van to hurt the most people.
One statement that was released about the bombing, states that Muhomaed said,
"I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave dead or injured."
Thousands of people gathered at the annual event at the Pioneer Courthouse Square, a plaza known as "Portland's living room." At 5:40 p.m. right before Mohamud's arrest, children were playing and laughing as Santa made his first appearance to light the town tree.
Mohamud graduated from high school in Beaverton. He was enrolled at Oregon State University over the past year but withdrawing Oct. 6.