WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Eric Holder says he is confident that federal agents acted properly in the case of a Somali-American man who allegedly tried to blow up what he thought was a van full of explosives in Portland, Ore., during the city's Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The FBI set up a sting operation to investigate Mohamed Osman Mohamud after receiving a tip.

At a news conference Monday, Holder said that once the undercover operation began, the suspect chose at every step to continue with the bombing plot.

We were able to thwart somebody who clearly had the intention of, by his own words and by his actions, to harm a great many people, to do real serious damage to property, to put at risk the lives American citizens including children, said Holder.

This was an individual who was given a number of opportunities to desist from his course of action but at every turn but decided that he wanted to continue but for the interaction of the FBI he might have come in contact with somebody who would have made his plans tragically real.

The attorney general rejected the suggestion that Mohamud was a victim of illegal entrapment by the FBI.

Holder also says the FBI is trying to determine if a fire at an Islamic center in Oregon is related to the arrest of Mohamud.

FULLSTORY: Why the FBI Waited So Long

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