Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Feds ask to conceal identity of witness in Tampa terrorism case

Sami Osmakac is accused of planning to attack targets in Tampa.

Sami Osmakac is accused of planning to attack targets in Tampa.

TAMPA — The government wants to publicly conceal the identity of a key witness against Sami Osmakac, the 26-year-old Pinellas Park man accused of trying to obtain explosives and guns to attack Tampa targets.

In its filing this week in federal court, prosecutors say that making public the true identity of the undercover FBI agent they say met with Osmakac in 2011 and 2012 and supplied him with fake weapons would jeopardize other investigations and endanger the safety of the agent and his family.

"These conclusions are not idle speculation," asserts an affidavit from R.J. Holley, an FBI counterterrorism official. "…With the simple click of a mouse, personally identifying information about or a photograph of (an undercover agent) — like the valuable law enforcement officer in this case — can be transmitted instantly to adversaries."

The government said that defense attorneys agreed with most but not all of the measures. If approved by a judge, they would include among others:

• Using the agent's pseudonym in testimony;

• Prohibiting the defense from asking questions that may reveal his identify;

• Allowing the agent to appear in court in "light disguise," such as changing his hairstyle;

• Banning the public from the courtroom during his testimony, allowing only the jury and "essential personnel" inside. A video feed, not showing the agent's face, would be made available to the public in some other room in the courthouse.

Osmakac is accused of trying to buy guns and explosives, including a car bomb, to destroy targets in Tampa, including a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office operations center and a South Tampa nightclub. He is being held in jail without bail.

His trial is scheduled to start Oct. 21 in Tampa federal court.

Feds ask to conceal identity of witness in Tampa terrorism case 08/29/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 29, 2013 11:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other


    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.