CHICAGO (CN) – A Chicago man faces 20 to 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Monday to trying to plant a bomb in a trash can on a crowded street near Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
Sami Samir Hassoun pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device. Hassoun, 24, is a citizen of Lebanon and a permanent resident alien in the United States.
“Under the plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of 30 years in prison, and the Court must impose a sentence of at least 20 years and no more than 30 years, or reject the plea agreement. The agreement also requires Hassoun to cooperate with the government in any matter in which he is called upon to assist,” the plea agreement states.
According to the plea agreement: “In early June 2010, Hassoun told a law enforcement cooperating source (hereinafter, the ‘CS’) that he wanted to commit acts of violence in Chicago for monetary gain and to cause political instability. The CS asked Hassoun about his ideas for a terrorist attack. Hassoun suggested bombing the commercial area surrounding Wrigley Field as one option. Hassoun explained that an attack against an entertainment center like the one near Wrigley Field could ‘paralyze’ Chicago commerce.”
The cooperating source, who was working with the FBI, told Hassoun he had some friends who might be interested in paying him to plant a bomb.
In a subsequent meeting with an undercover FBI officer, referred to as UC-1 in the plea agreement, “Hassoun stated that he believed that a series of escalating violent acts could be used to undermine the city’s political establishment. When asked by UC-1 what Hassoun was personally willing to do, Hassoun indicated that he would be willing to facilitate a car bombing or the assassination of Chicago police officers. Hassoun assured UC-1 that he wanted to participate in some violent act. When asked if he was concerned about those who would be hurt by such violence, Hassoun stated that casualties were the inevitable result of what he termed ‘revolution.'”
FBI agents eventually paid Hassoun $2,700 to plant a bomb near Wrigley Field on Sept. 18, 2010. There was a concert at the stadium that night. The target was a trash can at 3540 North Clark St., right outside a sports bar.
That evening, the agents “provided Hassoun a backpack that contained what UC-1 revealed as an explosive device. The enclosed device was comprised of a silver, one-gallon paint can, the interior of which was lined with ballbearings, and which contained seven cylindrical tubes that appeared to be explosive material, and which were bound by black electrical tape, two of which were connected to blasting caps with electrical wire leads attached to a clear plastic box containing a 9 volt battery, blue activation light and a white mechanical timer. The UCs told Hassoun the device was a bomb and generally explained how it was constructed, would be armed and detonated,” according to the plea agreement.
The FBI agents told Hassoun that the bomb could destroy half a city block. According to the plea agreement, the agents told Hassoun repeatedly that he could walk away from the plan at any time, but Hassoun assured them that “he had come to the decision to perpetrate a terrorist act in Chicago on his own.”
At about 12:10 a.m. on Sept. 19, 2010, “Hassoun exited the vehicle and walked directly to the target location, where Hassoun deposited the device in the target trash container. At the time that Hassoun dropped the bag containing the purported bomb in the trash container, the sidewalk was crowded with people, many of whom were within 20 feet of the target location,” according to the plea agreement.