“Hosam Smadi did two things before pushing the button he hoped would blow up a 60-story office tower and kill thousands of people that still bother FBI officials 13 months later.
Hosam Maher Smadi
An undercover agent posing as an al-Qaida terrorist offered Smadi ear plugs. He declined, saying he wanted to hear the explosion. Then he used his cellphone to secure a ghastly souvenir — a final picture of the building before it blew.
The inside story of the investigation, compiled from court documents and interviews with FBI officials in Dallas, is a tale of how the FBI stayed ahead of the would-be terrorist, giving him a decoy bomb and preventing him from harming anyone.
FBI officials offer a different portrayal of the meek, mild and apologetic young man who spoke politely to the judge during his two day sentencing hearing, which ended Tuesday with Smadi receiving 24 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
“He absolutely believed he had found al-Qaida, was committing an act on the scale of 9-11 and that he was going to get away with it,” Tom Petrowski, the supervisory agent who led the FBI operation, told The Associated Press. “He loved (Osama) bin Laden more than his parents. He said he would die for him, intended to die for him, expected to die for him. He believed to the core that this was his destiny.”
What a love story…