Lebanese terror suspect arrested in Chicago


A man accused of placing a backpack that he thought contained a bomb near Chicago’s Wrigley Field was “not the traditional bad guy,” his attorney said Tuesday.

Myron Auerbach told The Associated Press he was confident that details would emerge to show that Sami Samir Hassoun, 22, was not bent on violence. Auerbach said the actions that prosecutors describe in their federal complaint were “bizarre.”

The complaint alleges that Hassoun plotted to bomb a neighborhood full of late-night revelers and at times spoke of bombing a skyscraper, poisoning Lake Michigan or assassinating Mayor Richard M. Daley. But it also suggests that Hassoun waffled on his plans and motivations, at one point saying he wanted to cause no deaths.

Hassoun also had no apparent affiliation with extremists. The criminal complaint alleges he raised the specter of terrorist groups, but only by suggesting it would be helpful to blame them for any attacks he staged.

“This does not read like some of the other homeland security cases I have read about,” Auerbach said.

The attorney declined to offer details, but said details about his client and the criminal case would soon show a much different picture.

“My client is not the traditional bad guy,” Auerbach said. “Sami has a unique personality. … A rich personality that we have to delve into.”

Hassoun, a Lebanese citizen, has lived in Chicago for about three years. Investigators said he planted the backpack in trash bin near a popular bar just steps from the Chicago Cubs’ baseball stadium. He was arrested early Sunday, shortly after making the drop, according to the criminal complaint.

Inside the backpack were a silver paint can with blasting caps and a timer that were decoys provided by an undercover FBI agent, the complaint said. Huffington Post