Oprah Winfrey’s Chicago-based studio was targeted in a foiled terrorist truck-bomb plot in 2009 devised by an illegal alien, an individual who was waving an Islamic State flag from his car when he was arrested, and two of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, among others, reports the watchdog group Judicial Watch (JW).
The alleged bomb plotters, based out of El Paso, Texas, included an illegal alien, currently under federal custody, charged with “reentry of a deported alien” for the third time in five years, and another individual who was arrested after he engaged the police on high-speed chase while an Islamic State flag was waving from his vehicle.
The illegal immigrant was initially arrested in El Paso, Texas for driving while intoxicated (third offense). It is unclear why neither of the conspirators is facing federal charges for their role in the terrorist truck-bomb plot.
According to sources who spoke to JW on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, the other conspirators include two of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, who are currently at large.
The FBI and the Department of Justice did not respond to numerous requests for comment by JW on the foiled bomb plot.
The plot called for the use of a U-Haul-style trailer, as well as a delivery-style “step van,” that was purchased at auction in El Paso, Texas. Sources say the bombs were constructed with the plastic explosive C-4 and Tannerite, a binary explosive of ammonium nitrate and aluminum designed for detonation by means of a high-velocity firearms cartridge. Officials believe the C-4 explosives were obtained from Fort Bliss, the sprawling US Army base in El Paso, and the Tannerite was brought into the United States from Mexico. Federal law enforcement officials and Illinois police reportedly interdicted the bombers before they arrived in Chicago, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. It is not clear if federal law enforcement officials were entirely successful in exploiting intelligence opportunities presented by the foiled bomb plot.
Also a target of the alleged bomb plot was the iconic “Sears Tower,” now known as the Willis Tower.
According to JW, “The alleged bombers targeted Ms. Winfrey’s Harpo Studios because they resented her popularity and power, while the tower was selected because of its obvious landmark status.”
“The bomb plot itself, planned in 2009, was inspired by militant Islamist hatred of American military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to law enforcement and other sources interviewed by Judicial Watch,” the watchdog group adds. “Sources requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by terrorist bomb-plotter associates, as well as retaliation from embarrassed federal law enforcement.”
Two of the conspirators are currently being held in different parts of the country. They were identified as Emad Karakah and Hector Pedroza Huerta, two longtime friends and associates.
Karakah has been linked to the Islamic State (ISIS). He is currently incarcerated in Cook County, IL “on charges of making a false car bomb threat after leading police on a high-speed chase through Chicago with an ISIS flag waving from his car on August 28, 2014,” reveals JW.
Pedroza Huerta “is an illegal alien currently held in the El Paso County Jail. On August 13, Huerta was arrested in El Paso for driving intoxicated, a crime he has been twice convicted of (in 2009 and 2011),” the watchdog group adds.
It is unclear why Karakah is not under federal custody.
When it came to Pedroza Huerta, “the feds quickly took over, charging him for the third time in five years with ‘reentry of a deported alien,’ court records show,” the watchdog group reports.
Karakah’s case has been continued until December 3, 2014. Pedroza Huerta is scheduled to be sentenced on December 16 at the U.S. District Courthouse in El Paso.Frank Montalvo, the judge handling Huerta’s sentencing, presided over one of Huerta’s prior immigration cases in 2009.
The anonymous sources who spoke to JW identified the other conspirators as:
• “Omar,” a male in his late-50s to early-60s, of Arabic ethnicity, who drove a taxi and had an ownership interest in a used car dealership and a gas station in suburban El Paso;
• Two of the FBI’s “most wanted” terrorists: Jaber A. Elbaneh and Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah (a/k/a: “Javier Robles”); and,
• Other, unidentified conspirators.
JW also reports that on November 5, “a 27-year-old Florida man, Sami Osmakac, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after being convicted of taking part in a foiled bomb plot that targeted a popular Tampa bar and a hotel-casino.”
“During Osmakac’s trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence that in 2012 Osmakac, a U.S. citizen born in Kosovo, arranged to buy weapons such as a car bomb, machine gun and grenades to target crowded locations in Tampa,” the watchdog group adds. “While the FBI elected to publicize and take credit for the two, foiled Chicago and Tampa bomb plots, the Bureau has never released information on the 2009 targeting of Oprah, or explained why it has allowed conspirators to languish in county jails on lesser charges.”