Megan just returned from the outskirts of a crowded courtroom for the arraignment of Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, the 19-year-old arrested and charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Smadi asked for an Arabic translator, but one wasn't available. The public defender assigned to Smadi, Richard Anderson, wasn't eager to talk. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Meanwhile, The Agence France-Presse tracked down Smadi's father, a ministry of agriculture engineer in a town north of Amman, who claims his son is innocent. "We as a family never believed in terrorism and we never believed in violence," Maher Hussein Smadi said. "The FBI fabricated the entire thing to embarrass Obama because of his good relations with Muslims."
A meeting including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Dallas Police Department and representatives of the tenants of Fountain Place, the skyscraper targeted by Smadi, is scheduled for this afternoon. When asked if she or Mayor Tom Leppert would be in attendance, City Manager Mary Suhm told Unfair Park: "The professionals that handle security are going to be at the meeting."
Suhm says the city has no plans to increase security in downtown buildings, stressing that business owners were organized after 9/11; security plans were established; and the city keeps in contract with the downtown businesses. "We have policies in place that work very well."
So, just to be sure, no new security plans in response to this?
"That was under control from the very beginning," Suhm says. "The FBI caught the guy up in a sting." She can't tell us how long she knew about the sting or who else knew, but we know the mayor did.
"We were aware of the situation," Mayor Tom Leppert said in a statement. "Clearly, this is a troubling sign of the world we all live in today and we are extremely grateful for the vigilance of the FBI. We have a strong working relationship with FBI officials, and they have kept us informed of their investigation. Thanks to their efforts, no one was ever in any danger."
And we know who didn't.
"The first I heard about it was yesterday evening on the news," says Angela Hunt, who represents downtown.
Hunt says she will talk to Suhm about it today and has no plans to be at the meeting at Fountain Place. "I've not been asked to attend that, and I've not been informed of it."