The FBI depicts Hosam Maher Husein Smadi as a blustering big talker who espoused anti-American jihadist sentiments over the Internet. But the 19-year-old Jordanian became more than an angry loudmouth, the FBI says, when he tried to detonate what he thought was a car bomb in the parking garage beneath the 60-story Fountain Place skyscraper in downtown Dallas on Thursday.
The bomb was a fake – thanks to a sting operation by the FBI, which locked onto his online boastings and painstakingly monitored him. In fact, the agency apparently was so deeply involved that it provided the SUV the bomb was in, too.
It’s unclear this early in the investigation whether Smadi – had he not been intercepted by undercover Arabic-speaking FBI agents – might have been able to hook up on the Internet with a sleeper jihadist cell with the resources to create mayhem.
While these actions do not appear to have been part of a bigger terror plot, they are not insignificant. His arrest should rekindle awareness that the threat of terrorism is ongoing and that determined individuals or groups are constantly searching for weak points in America’s defenses. Constant vigilance is the only way to avert catastrophe.