Man at center of downtown Kansas City bomb scare speaks out

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A misunderstanding snowballed into a full-scale bomb scare Friday afternoon, leaving the man at the center of it all in a fight to clear his name.

Several local news outlets made Wahed Moharam's name public while covering the events that led to the evacuation of two government offices in downtown Kansas City, Mo. 41 Action News made the choice not to share his name on the air or on the web because no charges had been filed against him.

But on Friday night, Moharam gave us permission to identify him as he explained the circumstances that led to the bomb scare, and said in no uncertain terms that he is not a terrorist.

Moharam's daughter, Sophia Worthington, said that it all began when her father was pulled over in Grain Valley, Mo., on Thursday. When officials ran his name and record, he came up on the government's terrorist watch list.

Backup was quickly called to the scene, but Worthington said it took law enforcement 45 minutes to admit they made a mistake and let her father go.

Grain Valley Police confirmed that Moharam was stopped by Jackson County Sheriff's deputies on Thursday. 41 Action News contacted the Sheriff's office for more details, but they have not yet responded.

On Friday, Moharam went to the Richard Bolling Federal Building in Kansas City to find out why he was on the watch list. According to the FBI, he did not make any sort of threat of a bomb or explosive device being in his vehicle, but officials called a police canine to the scene to inspect his car as a precaution.

When the dog indicated the presence of a possible explosive substance, part of the federal building and the entire nearby Fletcher Daniels State Office Building were evacuated. It turned out to be a false alarm.

Retired FBI agent Jeff Lanza said that bomb-sniffing dogs can sometimes be confused by the presence of non-explosive items like fertilizer.

While Moharam was held for questioning after the incident, he was released early Friday evening and is not currently facing any charges.

The FBI would not disclose whether he is on any national security related lists.

Friday night, Moharam was still reeling from the day's events.

"My father is a very proud American," Worthington said. "What's happened to him today is upsetting."

Moharam told 41 Action News in a phone interview that he wants people to know that he is not a terrorist.

"I am a hard worker and trying to make a good living," he said. "I am not a terrorist and I never told anyone that I am terrorist...if I told them I had a bomb, I wouldn't be on the phone with you."

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