Man arrested in Dallas who wanted to blow up skyscraper

This is really quite chilling - and apparently not connected to the high profile arrests of what may have been a previously unknown al-Qaeda cell in the US.

But the news that a Jordanian born man - here illegally - was willing to go all the way through with bombing an office building in Dallas after the FBI set up a sting to catch him, reminds us that what may look crazy, is actually very dangerous.

Jason Trahan, Todd Gillman, and Scott Goldstein of the Dallas Morning News has the story:

Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was arrested Thursday after he parked a vehicle laden with government-supplied fake explosives in the underground parking garage of Fountain Place, a 60-story tower in the 1400 block of Ross Avenue at North Field Street, authorities said.

The arrest was part of an FBI sting operation that began after an agent monitoring an online extremist Web site discovered Smadi espousing jihad against the U.S. more than six months ago.

As more undercover Arabic-speaking agents engaged him, Smadi, living illegally in the U.S. in the small town of Italy, about 45 miles south of Dallas, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and expressed a desire to kill Americans, authorities said.

In conversations with agents posing as members of an al-Qaeda sleeper cell, Smadi said he came to the U.S. to wage jihad, or holy war. He told agents he wanted to target military recruitment centers, but eventually settled on financial institutions.

"I want to destroy ... targets ... everything that helps America on its war on Arabs will be targeted," he told undercover agents in May.

Agents sold Smadi a fake bomb, much like the one detonated by Tim McVeigh in Oklahoma City, and then accompanied him as he cooly parked the van underneath the building, and sped away in another car, also driven by agents.

A few blocks away, Smadi went all the way through with the terrorist attack and actually dialed the number on a cell phone to detonate the fake bomb. Agents then took him into custody.

How many "lone wolf" terrorists like Smadi are in the US right now? The answer may worry us as much as it worries law enforcement.