joi, 17 decembrie 2009
Condamnarea lui Ehsanul Islam Sadequee si Syed Haris Ahmed
Saptamana aceasta a avut loc condamnarea lui Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, in varsta de 23 de ani si Syed Haris Ahmed, in varsta de 25 de ani, pentru comploturi si activitati teroriste pe teritoriul Statelor Unite. Ambii erau cetateni americani . Sadequee a fost condamnat la 17 ani si Ahmed la 13 ani de inchisoare. Iata pe scurt povestea lor spusa de cei de la FBI.
They were a couple of young Americans with terror on their minds, two middle-class kids barely out of high school who lived seemingly normal lives in and around Atlanta while secretly taking up the mantle of violent jihad, who in the span of a year went from being extremist wannabes to trusted brothers of terrorist operatives across the globe.
Now, following their convictions in federal court earlier this year and sentencings this week, they are each headed to prison for quite some time.
Their names are Ehsanul Islam Sadequee and Syed Haris Ahmed, and their story is indicative of both the evolving homegrown extremist threat and the FBI's post 9/11 intelligence-driven investigations.
When Sadequee and Ahmed met at a midtown Atlanta mosque, neither was yet 21. Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan and moved to this country at about age 12, was a mechanical engineering student at Georgia Tech. Sadequee, a Bangladeshi-American born in Virginia, was working at an Atlanta non-profit while living at home with his mother and siblings in the suburb of Roswell.
The two soon became friends, finding that they shared a similar interest: violent jihad. They started spending hours online—chatting with each other, watching terrorist recruitment videos, and meeting like-minded extremists.
But they clearly wanted to do more than just stand on the sidelines. Fueled by their growing connections in cyberspace, Sadequee and Ahmed made a series of journeys that drew them further and further into a web of terror.
In late 2004, they traveled to rural northwest Georgia, shooting paintball guns and practicing attack techniques as part of basic paramilitary training.
The following March, they hopped on a Greyhound bus to Canada, where they spent a week talking terror with three jihadists they met on the Internet. One was an alleged member of the “Toronto 18,” a terror cell that later plotted to bomb the Canadian Parliament and other targets before being exposed in 2006.
In April 2005, Ahmed and Sadequee drove a pickup truck to the nation's capital and cased a series of landmarks—including the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon—making more than 60 short video clips to help establish their extremist credentials. Sadequee sent several clips to Younis Tsouli—aka “Irhabi007” (“Terrorist 007” in Arabic), an al Qaeda webmaster, recruiter, and propagandist—and to Aabid Hussein Khan, a facilitator for two Pakistan-based terrorist groups. Both Tsouli and Khan have since been convicted of terror offenses in the U.K.
That summer, Ahmed and Sadequee took separate trips overseas. Ahmed went to Pakistan, meeting with Khan and asking to attend a training camp and engage in jihad (he was talked out of it by his family). Sadequee was off to Bangladesh, where he joined with Tsouli and a Swedish extremist named Mirsad Bektasevic to form a violent jihadist organization known as “Al Qaeda in Northern Europe.” In October, just a few days after being in contact with Sadequee, Bektasevic was arrested in Sarajevo armed to the teeth; he was later convicted of terrorism.
What Sadequee and Ahmed didn't know was that for some time, they were being tracked by the FBI and its partners.
It was a tip from a foreign intelligence partner that set the case in motion.
In the summer of 2005, we learned that a central player in a terrorism investigation in another country was in e-mail contact with someone in the Atlanta area.
With appropriate court orders, our Joint Terrorism Task Force in Atlanta quickly tracked down who that person was. It was a 19-year-old American named Ehsanul Sadequee, who was also exchanging regular e-mails, we discovered, with a 20-year-old Georgia Tech student named Syed Haris Ahmed.
Initially, our investigation—code-named “Northern Exposure”—was focused on finding out what the two young men were up to and why Sadequee was trading e-mails with a terrorism suspect. We began both electronic and physical surveillance on each one and began tracking their financial and travel patterns with the help of partner agencies in the U.S.
We soon uncovered two key facts. One, both Sadequee and Ahmed were in touch with terrorist suspects in nearly a dozen nations around the world. And two, a great deal of this contact was via the Internet.
With our new post-9/11 intelligence-driven mindset, the last thing we wanted to do at that point was to rush in and make arrests. It was far more important to tease out information on all the players who might be connected to Sadequee and Ahmed, to paint a larger picture of this online and offline network of extremists, and to share that information with our national and international colleagues.
In March 2006, we approached Ahmed to see if he would cooperate in the case. Though he tried to deny his illegal activities, Ahmed made incriminating statements and secretly contacted Sadequee to warn him of our investigation. We arrested Ahmed soon after, and Sadequee was arrested in Bangladesh the following month. Both were convicted in separate trials this year, and sentenced on December 14.
A satisfying end to the case, but this investigation had a far broader and more significant outcome: thanks to unprecedented global cooperation, governments in nearly a dozen nations have arrested more than 40 individuals and disrupted an untold number of terror plots.
“Sadequee and Ahmed never pulled a trigger or set off a bomb, but they were making plans and working with known terrorists worldwide,” says Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Gregory Jones. “By using an intel-driven approach, we not only stopped these guys from doing harm, we took out a larger web of extremists.”
In the end, a network of terrorists was brought down by another network: a determined group of law enforcement and intelligence agencies from around the world working in unison to share information, compare evidence, and disrupt terrorist plots.
© Posted by Marian Petruța at 12/17/2009