Sami Osmakac, Florida Terror Suspect, Left Video Trail on Internet
The Pinellas Park man charged with plotting terrorist attacks in Tampa Bay left a trail of violent rhetoric on the Internet.
Sami Osmakac, 25, is being charged with plotting attacks on nightclubs and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office, motivated by radical Islamic beliefs.
According to federal officials, he made a video where he lays out his plans for “payback” for wrongs committed against Muslims. He said he wanted to bring terror to his “victims’ hearts” in the Tampa Bay area.
That video has not been made public. But other videos reveal more about his history and beliefs.
In a video from last year, Osmakac gets into a fight with a member of the Westboro Baptist Church in downtown Tampa. The church is best known for protesting soldiers’ funerals, saying they are God’s punishment for America’s acceptance of gay people.
In another You Tube video, he says, “Wake up, life is short. We’re living to die.”
He also warns believers in other religions to convert before it is too late.
“All you Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, wake up. How dare you worship a statute a man created? You worship the creator, not the creation. How dare you worship Jesus, peace be upon him.
“If you want the truth, let (unintelligible) guide you. If not, know that the hellfire is prepared already,” he said.
Osmakac was arrested Saturday and arraigned Monday in Tampa on one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He said little during the brief hearing and was held without bail.
Authorities say he is a naturalized American citizen born in Kosovo. It’s not clear how long he lived in the Tampa Bay area.
Authorities said a confidential informant led them to Osmakac, who later fell for a sting operation where he bought fake explosives and guns.
U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill thanked the local Muslim community for assistance in the investigation, without elaborating.
FBI agents arrested Osmakac on Saturday after he allegedly bought explosive devices and firearms from an undercover agent. The firearms and explosives were rendered inoperable by law enforcement.
Federal officials say a confidential source told them in September 2011 that Osmakac walked into the source's business looking for al-Qaida flags. The confidential source then hired Osmakac and was in constant contact with federal officials and audio or video taped their conversations.
Two months later, the federal complaint said, Osmakac and the confidential source discussed and identified potential targets in Tampa that Osmakac wanted to attack.
Osmakac allegedly asked the source for help getting firearms and explosives for the attacks, and the source put him in touch with an undercover FBI employee.
On Dec. 21, Osmakac met with the undercover agent and allegedly told the agent that he wanted to buy an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, grenades and an explosive belt. During a later meeting, Osmakac gave the agent a $500 down payment for the items.
"According to the complaint, Osmakac also asked the undercover employee whether he/she could build bombs that could be placed in three different vehicles and detonated remotely, near where Osmakac would conduct a follow-up attack using the other weapons he requested," the press release said. "The undercover employee said he/she could possibly provide explosives for one vehicle. Osmakac also allegedly said that he wanted an explosive belt constructed to kill people."
On Jan. 1, Osmakac told the agent that he wanted to bomb nightclubs, the operations center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and a business in Tampa, Florida.
Osmakac told the undercover FBI agent that he wanted to detonate a car bomb and use the explosive belt to "get in somewhere where there's a lot of people" and take hostages.
Osmakac told the agent that after he took hostages he wanted to demand something from the "kuffar" — an Arabic word that means infidels or disbelievers of Islam, federal authorities said.
According to the affidavit, he also stated, "Honestly, I would love to go for the Army people, but their bases are so locked up, I have to do something else."
Osmakac said he wanted to take down the bridges that link the city of Tampa to neighboring Pinellas County.
"This will crush the whole economy," he allegedly said to the agent. "This would crush everything man, they would have no more food coming in. They would, nobody would have work."
During that meeting, the agent told Osmakac he could always change his mind about his plot.
"According to the complaint, Osmakac immediately shook his head in the negative and stated, 'We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?' " the press release stated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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