Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Man Guilty Of Conspiracy To Provide Material Support To Terrorists
Syed Haris Ahmed, 24, has been found guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda terrorists who were planning attacks on federal targets in the nation's capital. The verdict was handed down today by Federal District Court Judge William Duffey in Georgia.
U.S. Attorney David Nahmias says, while there was never any imminent threat to the United States, authorities believed it important, in this post-9/11 era, to move in quickly and thwart any attempts to support terrorists.
"This investigation is connected to arrests and convictions of multiple terrorist supporters in Atlanta and around the world - all before any innocent people were killed," he said.
Ahmed is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Pakistan and raised in Marietta and Dawsonville, Ga. The evidence presented showed that Ahmed was among a group of people who offered to help terrorists attack targets in Washington D.C. He also videotaped the potential targets - including the U.S. Capitol. The videos were then sent to "jihadi brothers" abroad.
Ahmed used the Internet to keep in touch with the "brothers" located in the United States, Canada, the UK, Pakistan and elsewhere. They met in person as well, in Toronto, where they planned a trip to Pakistan to attend a terrorist-run paramilitary training camp.
The video clips were sent to Younis Tsouli, also known as "Irhabi007" (Arabic for "Terrorist 007"), a propagandist and recruiter for al Qaeda in Iraq, and to Aabid Hussein Khan, "Abu Umar," a facilitator for the Pakistan-based terrorist organizations "Lashkar-e-Tayyiba" and "Jaish-e-Mohammed." Both Tsouli and Khan have since been convicted of terrorism offenses in the United Kingdom.
Ahmed actually did travel to Pakistan in an unsuccessful attempt to enter a training camp. He came back to Atlanta to resume his studies at Georgia Tech and went on the Internet to search for information on powerful explosives and evading surveillance.
Ahmed was then brought in by the FBI for questioning. The agents attempted to turn him into an informant but abandoned that course of action when they discovered he was snitching out the FBI's efforts to an alleged co-conspirator in Bangladesh.