Tampa terror suspect under FBI watch for more than a year
New court docs show suspect under FBI surveillance
7:07 PM, Feb 19, 2013
10:03 PM, Feb 19, 2013
TAMPA - The FBI says 25-year old Sami Osmakac is a lone-wolf would-be bomber who plotted to blow up Tampa Bay locations including MacDill Air Force Base, Ybor City and Hyde Park bars, and local bridges.
We're learning new details about the federal case against the Moslem immigrant. According to new court paperwork, the FBI had been keeping tabs on him for more than a year before the terror plot arrest.
"The most sophisticated intelligence gathering techniques available in the world are used in these investigations whether it be wiretapping, electronic bugs. photographic surveillance from above," said local defense attorney John Fitzgibbons.
Fitzgibbons says cases like these are built on a mountain of evidence, gathered by an army of undercover informants and technology.
"For instance, if the government agents are following somebody and maybe the person's out on I-75, going somewhere, they can put aircraft in the air and follow them and track them," he said.
The new documents filed by Osmakac's attorney allege hundreds of federal agents used extensive surveillance including airplanes, cameras on poles and recorded audio and visual interceptions.
"I would guess because this is a National Security case that the warrant they would have gotten would have been from the foreign intelligence or FISA court and that basically is a secret proceeding that's been authorized for quite some time. greatly expanded," explained Mike Pheneger, President of Florida's ACLU.
The documents also claim Osmakac was on a so-called domestic terror watch list after he was detained and interviewed trying to cross into Afghanistan. Undercover agents described him as "desperate" and "radicalized."
"The government's had a lot of success with these types of cases although there are exceptions," said Fitzgibbons.
Osmakac was arrested in January of 2012.
His trial is set to begin in May, but a judge has ordered a psychological evaluation.