DALLAS — A 19-year-old Jordanian man living in Texas was arrested Thursday on charges he intended to bomb a downtown Dallas skyscraper, federal officials said.
Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was arrested after placing what he believed to be a car bomb outside the 60-story Fountain Place office tower Thursday, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas. The decoy device was given to him by an undercover FBI agent, the statement said.
Smadi is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Federal officials say the case has no connection with the major terrorism investigation under way in Colorado and New York or the Thursday arrest of a man facing the same charge in Springfield, Illinois.
Court documents do not list an attorney for Smadi. He was in federal custody in Dallas without bond, said Special Agent Mark White, spokesman for the Dallas FBI office. Legal representation is usually addressed at initial court appearances like the one scheduled for Smadi on Friday, White said.
The case is unrelated to that against Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old shuttle driver at the Denver airport also indicted in New York on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. It was also unrelated to the case against Michael C. Finton, who was accused of planning to bomb the federal courthouse in Springfield, Ill, White said.
White declined to comment on the specifics of the Dallas case.
The FBI kept Smadi, who lived in the small north Texas town of Italy, since and undercover agent discovered him in an online group of extremists, according to an FBI affidavit that did not specify a date.
"He stood out based on his vehement intention to actually conduct terror attacks in the United States," FBI supervisory special agent Thomas Petrowski wrote in the affidavit.
Three undercover agents who are native Arabic speakers eventually communicated and met with Smadi over several months, posing as members of an al-Qaida sleeper cell, according to the court documents. They allege he discussed targeting military recruiting centers, credit card companies, the airport or an armory before settling on a building containing a bank branch.
Smadi also allegedly said he wanted to attack on Sept. 11 but chose to wait until after Ramadan.
Agents provided Smadi with what he believed was a car bomb but was actually an inert device, according to Petrowski's affidavit.
Smadi drove to Dallas on Thursday, met one of the undercover agents and then drove to the targeted building, the FBI agent wrote. Smadi then allegedly drove a vehicle with the device inside into the parking garage beneath the building, parked it and attempted to detonate the bomb by setting the device's timer and flipping its power switch.
Smadi met again with the undercover agent, who drove several blocks away and Smadi dialed a cell phone he was led to believe would detonate the car bomb, according to the affidavit.
Associated Press Writer Terry Wallace contributed to this report.