The 'lone wolf' problem poses security challenges for feds

Both Hosam "Sam" Smadi and Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan attracted attention from federal agents long before their high-profile arrests.

But the two Texas cases, just six weeks apart, resulted in spectacularly different outcomes - one in the prevention of a large-scale terrorist attack in Dallas, the other in a deadly shooting rampage of soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood.

The Sept. 24 arrest of Smadi in Dallas came after he allegedly tried to detonate a vehicle with government- supplied fake explosives at a downtown skyscraper. Smadi was the object of a months-long FBI sting involving Arabic-speaking undercover agents.

The FBI chose not to take the same approach with Hasan, who is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder after the Nov. 5 attack at a base processing center filled with soldiers preparing for deployment to Afghanistan.

An FBI-run terrorism task force knew last December that Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, sent 16 e-mails to Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen who supports violence against the West.

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