Thursday, May 27, 2010

Terrorism: Man pleads guilty to attempting to bomb Dallas skyscraper

Hosam Maher Husein Smadi pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn to a felony offense related to his attempted bombing of a downtown Dallas skyscraper in September 2009, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

“Today’s guilty plea underscores the continuing threat we face from lone actors who, although not members of any international terrorist organization, are willing to carry out acts of violence in this country to further the terrorist cause. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors responsible for this successful investigation and prosecution,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Smadi, 19, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under the terms of the plea agreement, however, Smadi faces a sentence of 30 years in prison, if the Court accepts the plea. Judge Lynn set a sentencing date of August 20, 2010.

U.S. Attorney Jacks said, “I commend the FBI, the lawyers and support staff in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Counterterrorism section at the Department of Justice for their excellent work in bringing this case closer to a successful conclusion.”

“The facts disclosed today and Smadi’s plea make it clear his intention was to kill American citizens. I want to commend the work of the FBI’s North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force investigators and the prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, who worked countless hours to bring this investigation closer to its conclusion and to protect the community in their execution of the FBI’s Counterterrorism strategy to detect, penetrate, and disrupt acts of terrorism in the United States,” said FBI Dallas SAC Robert E. Casey Jr.

According to documents filed, on September 24, 2009, Smadi knowingly took possession of a truck that contained a weapon of mass destruction, specifically a destructive device or bomb. The truck with the bomb inside was a vehicle borne improvised explosive device. Smadi believed that this was an active weapon of mass destruction, and while it was inert when Smadi took possession of it, it was a readily-convertible weapon of mass destruction.

Smadi knowingly drove the truck containing the bomb to Fountain Place, a 60-story public office building located at 1445 Ross Avenue in Dallas, and parked it in the public parking garage under the building. After parking the truck, Smadi activated a timer connected to the device, locked the truck, and walked away. Smadi walked out of the parking garage, crossed the street and got into a car with an undercover law enforcement agent. They drove a safe distance away and prepared to watch the explosion. Smadi, who believed the bomb would explode and cause extensive damage, used a cell phone to remotely activate the device.

The case is being investigated by the FBI in conjunction with members of the FBI-sponsored North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson and Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerri Sims are prosecuting.

Source: United States Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

See also:
Friday, September 25, 2009: Terrorism: FBI charge Jordanian citizen with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction

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