Associated Press – 2010-09-22 22:29:06
FBI Gave Fake Bomb to Chicago Suspect
Sophia Tareen / Associated Press
CHICAGO (September 22, 2010) — A man arrested for allegedly placing a backpack he thought contained a bomb near Chicago’s Wrigley Field got the fake explosive from an FBI undercover agent, authorities say — a tactic that has been used in other US terrorism cases in recent years.
Sami Samir Hassoun, 22, a Lebanese citizen living in Chicago for about three years, was charged Monday with one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device.
Hassoun was arrested early Sunday after planting the fake explosive device in a trash receptacle near Sluggers World Class Sports Bar, a popular bar steps from Wrigley Field, FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Grant said. The Cubs were not playing at their home field; the stadium hosted Dave Matthews Band concerts Friday and Saturday nights.
It wouldn’t be the first time FBI agents have posed as terror operatives and supplied suspects with bogus explosives. Last year, authorities arrested a Jordanian national after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he thought was a bomb outside a Dallas skyscraper.
In a similar case in May 2009, four men were arrested after they allegedly tried to detonate fake explosives — also provided by the FBI — outside two synagogues in New York City.
In the Chicago case, the FBI said an informant tipped investigators about Hassoun nearly a year ago. Grant said Hassoun acted alone and the undercover agents told him they were from California and unaffiliated with any group. He declined to offer details about Hassoun’s motivations, but said he believed the agents were ready to give him money if he carried out the attack.
“He wanted to transform the city of Chicago, he wanted to make a statement and he wanted to replace the mayor of Chicago,” Richard Daley, Grant said. Chicago authorities said Daley never was in any danger. Police said he was informed of the plot over the weekend.
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