Sept 22 – denied bail
Sept 20, 2010
Sources: Chicago Breaking News, FOX, NBC, CBS, AP
Just past midnight on Sept 19, 22 y/o Sami Samir Hassoun, who is a Lebanese citizen and permanent US resident, walked up to Sluggers Sports Bar across from Wrigley Field (pix below) and placed in a trash receptacle what he thought was a fully functionally bomb capable of wiping out half the city block and the folks along it.
After he placed the bomb, Hassoun was arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, who had been waiting for him. And it was all caught on tape, including the “arming” of the bomb, which was done in front of Hassoun.
The “bomb” had been constructed by the FBI and was not functional. It was provided by an undercover FBI agent working with a confidential informant who, unbeknownst to Hassoun, was the go-between in an investigation that began in June.
What isn’t clear is why Hassoun was on the FBI’s radar as much as 18 months ago and why they thought he was worthy enough target for them to use a valuable CI to “befriend” him, especially if his motivation was not based on “religious ideology”.
Sluggers at the corner of Eddy & Clark – Wrigley in background.
(Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)
HEAD OF CHICAGO FBI, ROBERT GRANT:
At no time during the undercover operation was the public in danger, the entire event was controlled by FBI sources.
He was acting alone. He was not, I would say, highly skilled but definitely desirous of finding the material he needed to carry out his attack. His intent was to kill as many people as he could in an area of town that was highly populated, in an effort to cause as much destruction as possible.
Hassoun started big – bomb the Sears Tower or Daley Plaza, car bombs (mentioned the Times Square bombing), assassinate Mayor Daley, shoot Chicago police officers, poison Lake Michigan and unleash a biological attack on Chicago (virus, ricin). When he was told by the CI that such targets were not warranted in light of the amount of money they would be making, he switched to Wrigleyville.
From the criminal complaint (CC) [all emphasis added]:
Hassoun explained that the majority of Chicago’s youth spend their weekends at bars and restaurants and that an attack against an entertainment center like the one near Wrigley Field could “paralyze” that commerce. When asked by the CS how he would carry out such and attack, Hassoub succinctly stated: “You park the care, and let it go ‘boom.’”
He had initially chosen September 11, which he called “a beautiful day.” The FBI clearly was not going to allow that to happen, so he picked a week later when Dave Matthews would be performing in Wrigley and there would be plenty of “youth” in the area.
Wrigley holds 40K and Wrigleyville can hold just as many on a busy weekend.
[For the record, Mayor Daley is a Soxfan.]
He “wanted to commit acts of violence against Chicago for monetary gain and to cause political transformation” and “had a desire to perpetrate a terrorist act or acts that would embarrass” Mayor Daley and “wanted to take action that would force Mayor Daley from power” because he felt that Mayor Daley’s “policies has weakened Chicago’s security apparatus and he wanted to do something to show it”.
He also said that “through a series of a terrorist attacks, conspirators could undermine the mayor’s political support, allowing associates to gain control of the city” and to use “violence to take Daley out and put some of our guys in.”
And those people are?
I’ve read the entire criminal complaint (CC) and it contains conflicting information. They make a case that it had nothing to do with “religious ideology” - that Hassoun’s target was Chicago (Mayor Daley in particular) and his motivation financial gain brought about through acts of terrorism, and that no foreign or domestic terror groups were connected to the plot. Ok. Fine. But who did Hassoun think was going to bankroll his acts of terror? Who were his “brothers” in California? Unemployed actors? Or expats looking for revenge on Chicago infidels?
And why did FBI agent Grant add this:
He was also unhappy with things that were happening in other parts of world.
What other things in which part of the world?
The confidential informant spoke Arabic (Hassoum reportedly speaks English, French, Arabic), and at one point Hassoun said family members in Lebanon had sent him a manual on how to construct non-traceable explosives.
CC: During their June 22 meeting, Hassoun told the CS (undercover FBI agent) that he had received a package from relatives in Lebanon that, according to Hassoun, contained an Arabic language manual on how to construct non-traceable explosives. Hassoun further claims that the package contained certain metal pasts to be used in the construction of an explosive device.
His requested list of bomb components (that he had at home ready to go):
CC: Ammonium nitrate nitromethane, 18″ tovex sausages, electronic blasting caps, remote electric timers, shock tube detonators, ammonium nitrate fuel oil and dynamite sticks.
A list he must have gotten from someone.
CC: Hassoun further explained that he had drafted plans to design his proposed bomb with the (unknowing) assistance of a chemistry professor at the university he had attended.
Curious insertion of “unknowing”. See *below for possible university.
And his plans for the bomb:
HASSOUN: Little by little, I’m building it up. I will fuck Chicago. I will shake Chicago.
Words that will endear him to the jury as will these awfully familiar ones:
CC: Americans are psychologically weak and could be attacked through a campaign of terror.
So if he was just after Chicago, why “Americans” and not “Chicagoans”?
They also make a case in the complaint that Hassoun was not really interested in causing casualties, especially in regards to police officers (he wanted to shoot them), and yet there’s this:
CC: [FBI agent] asked about his motivation for the attack and whether he was concerned by those who would be hurt by such violence. Acknowledging the casualties that would result from his plans, Hassoun stated that such losses were the inevitable result of “revolution” but that those costs were acceptable in light of the “good” that could be done if they were successful in the end. Hassoun further explained that he had always thought of trying to start some kind of revolution and had been researching and planning possible attacks for months.
Perhaps how he got on the FBI’s radar in the first place.
And it really doesn’t matter whether or not “religious ideology” was his main motivation. His words sound the same, his acts would have been carried out in the same fashion, he initially wanted to carry it out on September 11, and he was going to blame it on “the jihad in US”.
CC: Although Hassoun was clear that he was not motivated to attack Chicago based on any religious ideology, he nevertheless suggested that once attacks had taken place, the participants distance themselves from their actions by sending an attribution video to the media claiming responsibility for the violence in the name of a fictious extremist organization. “Call it, the “jihad in US.’ Just make something up. You know? Make it up so, like, when you put it, all the heat is transferred to them. You know? There’s no heat in the street.”
Wonder what the folks in Bridgeview think about this:
CC: This was not the first instance in which Hassoun suggested framing others for his own proposed actions. In his June 14, 2010 meeting with the CS, Hassoun suggested that terrorists motivated by extremist views of Islam (e.g. al Qaeda) could be framed for his proposed actions. Hassoun speculated that people would naturally suspect such a group for an attack against establishments serving alcohol and that the conspirators could avoid detection by directing inquiry towards such a group. Similarly, in his July 8, 2010 meeting with UC-1, Hassoun suggested that inquiries into the proposed attacks could be diverted to terrorists motivated by extremist views of Islam by bribing unknown media personnel to blame the attacks on such individuals.
Again, who was the money supposed to be coming from?
*From Chicago Breaking News:
Hassoun’s Facebook page listed him as a former student at American University of Beirut…The last entry on his page was at 11:24 a.m. Saturday. “Sami Hassoun working on his business strategy plan,” it said.
Another curious comment:
The merchant, who asked not to be identified, said Hassoun’s father came to his store Sunday morning, crying and asking if anyone had seen Hassoun.
Does a 22 y/o male go home every Saturday night? And does a father of a 22 y/o male automatically assume something is wrong with his son – to the point of tears – when he doesn’t come home? What did his father know? Whose relatives in Lebanon allegedly sent the bomb manual?
And even after knowing Hassoun placed a bomb that he thought was real and was so excited to see explode he had the FBI agent set it for 20 minutes instead of 30, an acquaintance of Hassoun’s, Waseem Hashlamoun, said: “He’s a big talker.”
What had Hashlamoun heard Hassoun talking about, where were they talking about it, and why hadn’t he said anything about it to anyone?
There is much more to this than is contained in the complaint.
Why was Hassoun so intent on hurting people his age? Why Mayor Daley and why the interest in shutting down commerce?
Was he rejected by women? Was his family not allowed to do business or shut down by Mayor Daley?
And if Hassoun’s real goal was to force Mayor Daley’s resignation – why didn’t Hassoun call it off after Mayor Daley announced his retirement on Sept 7th?
Statement from Mayor Daley’s office (he happens to be in Asia):
Our public safety departments work together with state and federal authorities to ensure that the people of our great city are safe and we are prepared to deal with these types of situations. I would like to thank the Chicago Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice for their work.
1-Attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against people and property in a manner that would have affected interstate and foreign commerce
2-Attempted use of an explosive device to damage and destroy real property affecting interstate and foreign commerce.
Not sure why attempted use of WMD/BOMB against human beings – unrelated to the effect on commerce – isn’t a charge.
Arraignment was today and his preliminary hearing is Wednesday.
Punishment for what he intended: mass murder and mass destruction of property is 5 yrs to life.
A life sentence should be mandatory in cases where a weapon of mass destruction/bomb – which the person thought was fully armed – was actually placed.
Criminal complaint a courtesy of Chicago Tribune