Baltimore tunnel plot update from the Sun-Sentinel, :
Speaking for the first time since he was swept up in a terror probe, the owner of a Southeast Baltimore convenience store said yesterday he knows of no plots to blow up a Baltimore tunnel, and he criticized federal authorities for acting on a tip about which they have become increasingly skeptical.
“I’ve been in America 23 years. I would never let anybody harm here in America,” said Maged M. Hussein, a U.S. citizen from Egypt.
Hussein spoke from behind the counter of Koko Market shortly after being released from Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center, where he had been held on a gun charge unrelated to terrorism.
On Tuesday, more than a half-dozen federal authorities walked into his store on Dundalk and Eastern avenues in Highlandtown, and ordered it closed, Hussein said….
Authorities say the man who tipped them off is an Egyptian who used to live in Baltimore….
Ahmed Barbour, an Egyptian native, and his wife, Carol Barbour, say they believe the informant is a man who used to work for them at a Dundalk pizzeria. They say he came to the country with a group of Egyptians five years ago and was deported last year. He has repeatedly called members of the group to help him get back into the country and he now has a grudge against them, the couple said.
Hussein said he knows the man as a former customer.
“It’s just all lies and he should be punished for that,” Hussein said.
“How can you believe somebody like that, somebody that has been deported from the country?” he said. “You still take his word?”
Hussein said he is friends with the man’s wife, who lives in the area. Pointing to a picture of the woman he keeps taped to a wall behind the counter in his store, Hussein denied that the relationship is anything more than a friendship.
The FBI official said agents have no information that Hussein was involved in a romantic triangle involving the informant and a Baltimore woman. The woman declined to comment yesterday.
Hussein, who is from Cairo, said he came to the United States 23 years ago, and is an American citizen. He said one of his first jobs in America was as an assistant manager in The Sun’s delivery department.
Hussein, who is known as “Mike” to some of his customers, operated two stores in Baltimore before opening the Koko Market nine years ago. There, baskets next to the counter contain bags of flour from Tunisia, beans and prunes from Egypt, and candies from Syria.
Hussein, a Muslim, said he openly denounced the terrorist acts of Sept. 11, 2001. In the weeks after, he displayed flags and other patriotic symbols in his store’s windows, according to a Baltimore Business Journal story published that year.
Oh! Well, then, he must not be guilty of any involvement in the tunnel plot.