Smadi Case Well-Executed, Highlights Immigration Issues, Senator John Cornyn Says

Smadi case well-executed, highlights immigration issues, Sen. John Cornyn says

By Todd J. Gillman
The Dallas Morning News, October 1, 2009

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, says the Smadi case — the Jordanian arrested last week for trying to blow up a Dallas office tower — underscores the need to beef up immigration enforcement.

And, like other officials we've talked with, he hasn't heard of any connection between the investigation of this suspect, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, and near-simultaneous busts involving suspects hoping to do bad things in New York, Illinois and Virginia.

'I don't have any knowledge of any connection, so I couldn't comment on that,' Cornyn said on his weekly call with reporters. But he added that, in talking with federal immigration officials, 'they pointed out that even though this individual [Smadi] overstayed his temporary visa, he was married to an American citizen, although they apparently were no longer living together. It just emphasizes that, in addition to all of the anti-terrorism tools that we need under the Patriot Act, that it continues to be important that we know who comes into our country, why they're here, and protect our country and keep it safe.'

Cornyn, for one, has no qualms about all the effort — time and scarce Arabic-speaking undercover agents — devoted to the Smadi case. The FBI says the suspect had been spewing jihadist threats online but nothing in the federal complaint or any public statements by investigators indicates that this 19-year-old, working at a BBQ joint in Italy, Texas, had the training or wherewithal to build a bomb. (The FBI supplied the simulated explosives and detonator.)

'We don't know everything that the FBI knows or law enforcement officials know, so there may be more to the story,' Cornyn said. '… My impression is that they took somebody who was predisposed to attack and injure or kill Americans — innocent Americans – and basically worked undercover to help him carry out what fortunately proved an unsuccessful terrorist attack. As far as other training he had, what other associates he had, I'm just not aware of that.'

EDITORS NOTE: CIS literature on immigration and national security is available online at: