Feds Head Off Bombing Plots in Dallas, Illinois
Cases unrelated to each other; no link to Denver, NY terror arrests
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2009 12:01 PM CDT
Michael C. Finton (left) and Hosam Maher Husein Smadi are in federal custody after attempting to detonate what they thought were bombs outside an Illinois courthouse and a Texas skyscraper.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A Jordanian citizen arrested in an elaborate FBI sting is to be arraigned today on charges of attempting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper. The court appearance comes a day after an Illinois man was charged with plotting to detonate a bomb near a Springfield courthouse, only to learn that his supposed al-Qaeda contact was an FBI agent. The cases are not related to each other nor to the terror arrests in Denver and New York, authorities say.

In Dallas, agents found Hosam Maher Husein Smadi on an extremist website espousing jihadist views. When they posed as al-Qaeda operatives and provided him with a fake bomb, his neighbors were stunned. "He was just an awesome person,” one tells the Dallas Morning News. Michael Finton of Decatur, Ill., who also went by "Talib Islam," seems less benign. "I got to thinking, ‘Why does this person even choose to live in this country if he thinks we’re so evil?’" an acquaintance tells the Springfield Journal-Register.