susYou’re in a crowded airport or bus station and there’s a package, wrapped in brown paper sitting there unattended. What do you do? Designed as a scare tactic, the FBI is warning residents of New York and Washington about suspicious packages. This terrorist tactic is not designed to physically harm or cause real violence like a bomb or shootout would, but rather, the goal is to intimidate and tie up city resources.

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smadiA terror suspect accused of the attempted bombing of a Dallas skyscraper was arrested Thursday in a FBI sting operation. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, the accused 19-year-old Jordanian, planned to blow up a vehicle at the base of the iconic 60-story Fountain Place office tower.

The FBI had been monitoring Smadi’s activity through an extremist chat site where the FBI stated that “Among many others in the group who espoused and endorsed violence, Smadi stood out, based on his vehement intention to actually conduct terror attacks in the United States.”

FBI agents then posed as members of an al Qaeda sleeper cell contacted Smadi to determine the probability that he would actually go through with a full blown terror attack. After months of talks, the FBI determined that Smadi was both capable and committed to a violent jihad against the United States. Smadi described himself as a soldier for Osama bin Laden.

FBI agents provided Smadi with a dummy explosive that he drove into the parking garage under the skyscraper and attempted to activate the bomb by dialing a number on his cell phone. The number belonged to an undercover FBI agent and when the cell phone rang, that’s when FBI agents moved in and arrested Smadi.

Charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, Smadi faces either death or life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

(Via CNN)

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Sept 11 AnniversaryProbably the biggest tragedy in U.S. history, everyone remembers where they were on September 11th, 2001.

I remember visiting the World Trade Center in 5th grade on a family trip from Boston. It was one of the biggest buildings I’d ever seen, and I practically had to bend backwards to see the entire building. I jumped on the elevator to the top, which took much longer than any other elevator and made everyone’s ears pop.  Once I reached the top, I remember stepping out on the deck to huge gusts of winds and the best view that Manhattan had to offer. 5 years later I would have never imagined sitting in math class and hearing that a plane had hit one of the towers. Panic, loss, and sadness. How could such powerful and grandiose buildings fall so easily?

Today, the scene is much different. In the center of Lower Manhattan’s hustling and established Financial District, lies an empty void marked by construction cranes and dirt. 8 years later, the site looks very much similar to the days after the event. The air is heavy and sad.

Today is a somber day in New York City, both in weather and tone, as the nation and world remember the tragic events that took place on that fateful day. Thousands gathered this morning at the site of the World Trade Center to hear the victims’ names read aloud and to listen to words of remembrance. Never forgotten, both New York City and the world are standing behind the victims, the FDNY, the NYPD, and the countless volunteers who contributed hours, time, and their lives on that fated day.

(Via USA Today)


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