Man ar­rested for hoax bomb threat at the Statue of Lib­erty

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY JAKE PEAR­SON

A man who used the name of a 1993 World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing con­spir­a­tor and threat­ened to “blow up” the Statue of Lib­erty in April, forc­ing the evac­u­a­tion of Lib­erty Is­land, has been ar­rested, fed­eral author­i­ties an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Jason Paul Smith, who said in an emer­gency call he was Ab­dul Yasin, was ar­rested in Texas, where he’s charged with con­vey­ing false and mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion and hoaxes, author­i­ties said.

Smith, of West Vir­ginia, who is not ac­tu­ally Yasin, iden­ti­fied him­self as the only con­spir­a­tor not to be cap­tured in the 1993 bomb­ing, and said he was an “ISI ter­ror­ist” when he called po­lice from his iPad to say “that ‘we’ were pre­par­ing to ‘ blow up’ the Statue of Lib­erty,” FBI spe­cial agent Alexan­der Hirst wrote in a com­plaint filed in fed­eral court in New York.

Smith, 42, could face up to five years in prison if con­victed. A fed­eral public de­fender hasn’t re­turned a mes­sage seek­ing com­ment on the case.

More than 3,200 peo­ple were re­moved by boats fol­low­ing the April 24 call, and bomb-sniff­ing dogs were brought in to make a sweep of the is­land be­fore of­fi­cials de­ter­mined there were no ex­plo­sives. The statue, one of the na­tion’s most vis­ited land­marks, re­opened the next day.

Smith, who at­tended a school for the deaf and the blind, used a ser­vice for the hear­ing im­paired to place the emer­gency call, Hirst wrote. Another 18 emer­gency calls were made Jan. 29-31 from an email ad­dress on his iPad, Hirst said.

On May 18, two other emer­gency calls made via the call­ing ser­vice for the hear­ing im­paired — one threat­en­ing to “blow up a bridge at Times Square” and another threat­en­ing to kill of­fi­cers at the Brook­lyn Bridge — were made from an iPad at Smith’s West Vir­ginia ad­dress by a user who iden­ti­fied him­self as an “Isis al­lah Bomb maker,” Hirst wrote.

Smith has a history of mak­ing threats and was con­victed in 2001 and in 2006 in Vir­ginia on re­lated charges, the com­plaint says.

Author­i­ties in Texas asked a fed­eral judge on Mon­day for per­mis­sion to search his girl­friend’s sin­gle-story trailer home and his black Ap­ple iPad, court pa­pers un­sealed Wed­nes­day show.

Ab­dul Rah­man Yasin was ques­tioned ex­ten­sively af­ter the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter blast, which killed six peo­ple and in­jured 1,000 oth­ers, but a week later he fled to Amman, Jor­dan. He was in­dicted in Au­gust of that year and has been placed on the FBI’s list of most wanted ter­ror­ists.

Six Is­lamic ex­trem­ists, in­clud­ing mas­ter­mind Ramzi Yousef, were con­victed of car­ry­ing out the 1993 bomb­ing, with Yousef de­fi­antly pro­claim­ing at his sen­tenc­ing: “Yes, I am a ter­ror­ist and am proud of it.” Yousef is the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mo­hammed, the self- pro­claimed mas­ter­mind of the Sept. 11, 2001, at­tacks, which de­stroyed the World Trade Cen­ter and dam­aged the Pen­tagon.

AP

In this April 24 file photo taken from Jersey City, New Jersey, a New York Po­lice he­li­copter cir­cles over Lib­erty Is­land where the Statue of Lib­erty was evac­u­ated due to a re­port of a sus­pi­cious pack­age.

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