Planning to Blow Up Dallas? Don't Chat About It Online
Although Houston rules and Dallas drools when it comes to the Battle for the Greatest Texas City, Like, Ever, even a red-blooded Houstonian would never wish an ill fate on that forgettable city to the north of us in a million years. Well, not anything anyone else would see as harm, that is. But wouldn't it be highly entertaining if the Dallas drugstores were magically bereft of platinum hair dye, and spray tanning machines suddenly and irreparably ran dry? It would undoubtedly cause a pandemic of dark-rooted ponytails and pasty skin, rendering Dallas the long-lost twin sister of Cleveland, Ohio. Tsk tsk, cluck cluck. Tragedy! A real shame indeed.
Ahem. But Houstonians can unanimously agree that obliterating the Fountain Place Tower in downtown Dallas would be universally abhorrent, even if it did occur in that abominable Mary Kay paradise. So it's a damn good thing that authorities were chillin' in extremist chat rooms and caught 19-year old Hosam Maher Husein Smadi before he went and blew it up.
Yup. You read that right. The FBI caught a terrorist while chatting online.
From our research, it's unclear how the FBI discovered this cyber group of cuckoos, but Social Distortion assumes the FBI googled it. Isn't that where everyone starts? Anyway, an affidavit 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." We wonder if it was his avatar.
Rice Owls Mens Basketball vs. Charlotte Mens Basketball
TicketsSat., Jan. 28, 7:00pm
Gridiron Glory: The Best of Pro Football HOF -- 10AM-3PM
TicketsMon., Jan. 30, 10:00am
Gridiron Glory: The Best of Pro Football HOF -- 3PM-8PM
TicketsMon., Jan. 30, 3:00pm
Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled By Gatorade
TicketsMon., Jan. 30, 7:00pm
So what happened next? Well, undercover officials posed as members of an al Qaeda sleeper cell and connected with Smadi. According to CNN, the agents determined that Smadi was a legitimate threat after months of heart-to-hearts, and after definitively crossing off the Dallas-Fort Worth airport from his wish list.
Yeah, months. The federal government works swiftly, you see.
So the feds gave him a fake explosive, and Smadi drove a car to a parking garage under the skyscraper. Apparently he thought he could detonate the bomb via his cell phone, but instead, GOTCHA! He dialed a number that rang straight to authorities. BOO YA.
Now look. The fool got fooled. He simply didn't get it. Social Distortion, however, knows way too much about the proper way to organize a movement online if it is absolutely imperative that you bomb a building. Even terrorists are gonna have to get on board with social media, folks. Private tweets, private wiki, private blog, oh, you know, private anything, anyone? Hello?! Sheesh. We're totally judging you, extremist nutjobs.
If anyone needs a social media consultant, it's the terrorists. But until they pay up, we're not spillin' the intellectual goods. Suffice it to say, chat rooms are sooooo 1998. And that's all we're sayin'.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.