Informant: I offered to lead plot
But he says aim was to fool Ft. Dix attackers

Local NJ news from The Star-Ledger | November 11, 2008
By John P. Martin

The FBI informant paid to infil trate a band of suspected terrorists in South Jersey said yesterday that he offered to organize their attack on U.S. soldiers, but only because he wanted to build trust and find out more about the group.

"If you appoint me as emir (leader), I should be able to tell you which plan can be done, what can be expected, who should be present and what are the possibilities," the informant, Mahmoud Omar, told defendant Mohamad Shnewer in a conversation after the two men drove to Fort Dix.

"I am going to be the brain, okay," he added later. "Until now, I don't know about anyone involved in this subject ... except you and I."

Shnewer's attorney, Rocco Cip parone, highlighted the exchanges as he grilled Omar for a third day, trying to show that the only terrorist conspiracy was one planted and nurtured by the informant.

Prosecutors have pointed to the trips that Shnewer and Omar took to Fort Dix and Dover Air Force Base in August 2006 as proof that Shnewer was scouting tar gets for an attack. Cipparone honed in on the same conversations to show that Shnewer, then 21, was eager to talk about a lot of things but rarely acted on them -- and that his procrastination even frustrated the informant.

During those two trips, the two men discussed attacking the Army and Air Force sites, as well as nearby military targets, the White House, the FBI and other government buildings. They talked about using grenade launchers, Molotov cocktails, roadside nail bombs and remote-controlled detonators, or buying a nearby house to use as a sniper station. They talked about building homemade bombs in the Poconos, conducting weekly video surveillance, and attending driving school to learn how to drive a hi jacked tanker on a suicide mission.

But ultimately there was no training, surveillance or attack.

Cipparone pointed to a conversation where Omar, who at 15 years older described himself as an older brother, accused Shnewer of "dragging his feet" and demanded the younger man make a decision.

"I'm not grabbing Mohamad by his hand and pushing him to anything," Omar said through an Arabic interpreter...