Although his family came from a Shia-dominated region of that country, Hassoun was never particularly religious. He was, according to friends, exceptionally intelligent (he attended an elite school, studied medicine briefly, and is fluent in English and French as well as Arabic) and given to boasting.
Chicago restaurant owner Joseph Abrahamrecalls that Hassoun “wanted to make fast money” and lusted after personal fame. He succeeded in becoming a global celebrity of sorts on September 19 when he was arrested by a throng of FBI agents and Chicago cops after he deposited what he thought was a powerful bomboutside a bar near Wrigley Field.
The device had been manufactured at an FBI counter-terrorism lab in Quantico, Virginia, and supplied to Hassoun by two undercover FBI agents posing as terrorism financiers. The agents paid the young man $2,700 to quit his day job — and promised him a great deal more — to work full-time brainstorming various terrorist plots against targets in Chicago.
“My client didn’t bring anything of his own making to the incident,” maintains Hassoun’s defense attorney Myron Auerbach. “Things were given to him.” Hassoun, according to his friend Joseph Abraham (who knew him as a delivery man for a nearby bakery), had a fertile imagination, a gift for self-dramatization, and occasional difficulty in telling the unadorned truth. All of those traits appear to have worked in unfortunate synergy to get the young man into trouble. There is little in Hassoun’s background to suggest a future career in terrorism, absent the FBI’s intervention. Why did the FBI approach him in the first place?
Hassoun had no criminal record or background in violent or radical groups. According to FBI Special Agent Samuel Hartman, who swore out the criminal complaint against Hassoun, the decision to pair him up with an undercover provocateur was based on “information relating to Hassoun that is unrelated to this matter.” This suggests, at least to hardened cynics like myself, that the Bureau was trolling for patsies and learned something about Hassoun that they considered an exploitable vulnerability.
“Although Hassoun was clear that he was not motivated to attack Chicago based on any religious ideology, he nevertheless suggested that once attacks had taken place, the participants distance themselves from their actions by sending an attribution video to the media claiming responsibility for the violence in the name of a fictitious extremist organization,” claims footnote 22 on page 15 of the complaint. “Call it, `the jihad in U.S.’ Just make something up,” Hassoun is quoted as suggesting. “You know? Just make it up so, like, when you put it, all the heat is transferred to them. You know? There’s noheat in the street.’”
This is to say that Hassoun supposedly proposed a “false-flag operation.” Where onearth would he get an idea of that kind? Here’s a thought: Might he have learned something about this tactic from the friendly people at the FBI, who are masters of the art of manufacturing phony terrorist plots?
In this connection it’s interesting to note that Shahed Hussain, the Pakistani-born FBI provocateur who confected the so-called “Newburgh 4? bombing plot in New York,recently admitted under oath that the FBI sent him to a terrorist training camp in his home country in December 2009. This happened while he was playing the role of a wealthy terrorist recruiter in the employ of the Pakistani group Jaish-e-Mohammed as part of a “sting” targeting four marginalized, desperate losers.
|Provocateur-Prevaricator Hussain on the stand.|
On the witness stand, Hussain — who, in addition to being a veteran con artist, appears to be the scion of a wealthy Pakistani family that knew Benazir Bhutto — has been repeatedly rebuked by Judge Colleen McMahon (who has actually referred to the trial as an “un-terrorism case”). When finally cornered by the attorneys representing those targeted in his sting, Hussain’s answers did nothing to help the prosecution’s case.
“Everything coming out of your mouth was a lie for that 11-month period when you were meeting with these men, right?” asked defense attorney Vincent Bricetti.
“Yes” Hussain answered.
When working as a paid FBI informant, “it’s helpful to be a really good liar, isn’t it?” Bricetti continued, eliciting a grudging affirmative response from the witness.
“I love to work for the FBI,” Hussain explained. “I enjoy the work I do, that’s why I do it.”
As the jury chokes on Hussain’s malodorous testimony, the prosecution has been reduced to abject whining. “The government is entitled to a fair trial,” simpered Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Halperin, who considers it entirely unfair that the defense is permitted to challenge the credibility of the FBI’s hired liar.
It’s entirely likely that a purulent personality of that kind is at the center of the most recent terror charade in Chicago. If so, it would be fascinating to see what would ooze out of him under cross-examination during Hassoun’s trial.
As cases of this kind accumulate, it’s becoming incontestably clear that “Jihad Central” isn’t found in Riyadh, Tehran, or — as some earnest but misled people insist — Moscow. It’s in Virginia — specifically, Langley and Quantico.