DICE Roundup 21 Feb

Ray Semko DICE Radio

How you don’t want to be known for the rest of your life:

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Sentenced to Life in Prison for Attempted Bombing of Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009

US Deptartment of Justice February 16, 2010

WASHINGTON – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber,” was sentenced today to life in prison as a result of his guilty plea to all eight counts of a federal indictment charging him for his role in the attempted Christmas Day 2009 bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253.

The sentence, handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy G. Edmunds in Detroit, was announced by Attorney General Eric Holder; Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office; and Brian M. Moskowitz, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Detroit.

Abdulmutallab, 25, of Kaduna, Nigeria, pleaded guilty on Oct. 12, 2011, to conspiracy to:

  • commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries;
  • attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States;
  • willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft, which was likely to have endangered the safety of the aircraft;
  • attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction;
  • willfully attempting to destroy and wreck a civil aircraft; and
  • three counts of possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence.

“As this investigation and prosecution have shown, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a remorseless terrorist who believes it is his duty to kill Americans. For attempting to take the lives of 289 innocent people, he has been appropriately sentenced to serve every day of the rest of his life in prison,” said Attorney General Holder. “Today’s sentence once again underscores the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in both incapacitating terrorists and gathering valuable intelligence from them.”

“On behalf of the victims, we are gratified that this al-Qaeda terrorist has been defeated and will spend the rest of his life in prison, where he can never hurt innocent civilians again,” U.S. Attorney McQuade said. “I am very proud of the work of our prosecutors and agents in Detroit. Their work shows that the civilian court system is a valuable mechanism for obtaining intelligence and convicting terrorists with the legal certainty and transparency that instills public confidence in American justice.”

“The case against Abdulmutallab was a combination of the hard work and dedication of FBI personnel as well as multiple federal, state and local agencies. Those individuals who experienced Christmas Day 2009 first hand should be rest assured that justice has been done.” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Arena.

“When it counted most, under pressure and in the heat of the moment, the metro Detroit law enforcement community responded as one and acted decisively,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Moskowitz. “Their collective actions epitomized the concept of ‘one team, one fight’ and showed the power of collaboration in the protection of our homeland.”

According to the indictment filed in this case, in August 2009, Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen for the purpose of becoming involved in violent “jihad” on behalf of al-Qaeda. There, he conspired with other al-Qaeda members to bomb a U.S. aircraft over U.S. soil and received an explosive device for that purpose.   Abdulmutallab traveled with the bomb concealed in his underwear from Yemen to Africa and then to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where he boarded Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009.   The bomb contained PETN and TATP, two high explosives, and was designed to be detonated with a syringe containing other chemicals.

Abdulmutallab’s purpose in taking the bomb on board Flight 253 was to detonate it during flight, causing the plane to crash and killing the 290 passengers and crew members on board. As Flight 253 was on descent into Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the defendant detonated the bomb, which resulted in a fire, but otherwise did not fully explode. Passengers and flight attendants tackled the defendant and extinguished the fire.

This investigation was conducted by the Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is led by the FBI and includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, HSI, the Federal Air Marshal Service and other law enforcement agencies. Additional assistance has been provided by the Transportation Security Administration, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Wayne County Airport police, as well as international law enforcement partners.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Tukel, Cathleen M. Corken and Michael C. Martin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

To view or download the government video exhibit introduced in court during today’s sentencing hearing, visit: http://www.justice.gov/usvabdulmutallab-200.html .


Virginia Man Accused of Attempting to  Bomb U.S. Capitol in Suicide Attack

US Deptartment of Justice February 17, 2010

WASHINGTON – A 29-year-old man residing in Alexandria, Va., was arrested today for allegedly attempting to detonate a bomb in a suicide attack on the U.S. Capitol Building as part of what he intended to be a terrorist operation.

The charges were announced by Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office.

Amine El Khalifi, an immigrant from Morocco who is illegally present in the United States, was charged today by criminal complaint with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against property that is owned and used by the United States.  He made his initial appearance today at 4:15 p.m. before Judge T. Rawles Jones Jr.  If convicted, El Khalifi faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The arrest of El Khalifi was the culmination of an undercover operation during which he was closely monitored by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).  The explosives and firearm that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public.

“The complaint filed today alleges that Amine El Khalifi sought to blow himself up in the U.S. Capitol Building,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “El Khalifi allegedly believed he was working with al-Qaeda and devised the plot, the targets and the methods on his own.”

“Today’s case underscores the continuing threat we face from homegrown violent extremists,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco.  “Thanks to a coordinated law enforcement effort, El Khalifi’s alleged plot was thwarted before anyone was harmed.”

“This individual allegedly followed a twisted, radical ideology that is not representative of the Muslim community in the United States,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “He became known to the JTTF because of his stated desire to carry out attacks in the U.S., specifically, the U.S. Capitol building.  This arrest is the result of dedicated special agents, task force officers and intelligence analysts from the FBI and our partner law enforcement agencies that make up the JTTF.”

According to the criminal complaint affidavit, in January 2011, a confidential human source reported to the FBI that El Khalifi met with other individuals at a residence in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 11, 2011.  During this meeting, one individual produced what appeared to be an AK-47, two revolvers and ammunition.  El Khalifi allegedly expressed agreement with a statement by this individual that the “war on terrorism” was a “war on Muslims” and said that the group needed to be ready for war.

The affidavit alleges that El Khalifi sought to be associated with an armed extremist group, and on Dec 1, 2011, he was introduced by a man he knew as “Hussien” to an individual named “Yusuf,” who was, in reality, an undercover law enforcement officer.  Throughout December 2011 and January 2012, El Khalifi allegedly proposed to carry out a bombing attack. His proposed targets included a building that contained U.S. military offices, as well as a synagogue, U.S. Army generals and a restaurant frequented by military officials.

During meetings with the undercover officer, El Khalifi allegedly handled an AK-47 and indicated his desire to conduct an operation in which he would use a gun and kill people face-to-face.  He also allegedly

  • selected a restaurant in Washington, D.C., for a bombing attack;
  • handled an explosive as an example of what could be used in the attack;
  • conducted surveillance to determine the best place and time for the bombing and
  • purchased materials as part of the planned operation.

On Jan. 7, 2012, “Hussien” informed El Khalifi that he was an al-Qaeda operative.  El Khalifi allegedly discussed the possibility that his planned bombing of the restaurant would be followed by a second attack against a military installation to be conducted by others who El Khalifi believed to be associated with al-Qaeda. The affidavit alleges that El Khalifi understood that his attack on the restaurant would be part of an al-Qaeda operation that would include both his restaurant bombing and the attack against a military installation.

The affidavit alleges that on Jan. 15, 2012, El Khalifi stated that he had modified his plans for his attack.  Rather than conduct an attack on a restaurant, he wanted to conduct a suicide attack at the U.S. Capitol Building. That same day at a quarry in West Virginia, as a demonstration of the effects of the proposed suicide bomb operation, El Khalifi dialed a cell phone number that he believed would detonate a bomb placed in the quarry.  The test bomb detonated, and El Khalifi expressed a desire for a larger explosion in his attack.  He also selected Feb. 17, 2012, as the day of the operation, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit alleges that over the next month,

  • El Khalifi traveled to the U.S. Capitol Building on multiple occasions to conduct surveillance,
  • choosing the spot where he would be dropped off to enter the building for the martyrdom operation,
  • choosing the specific time for the attack and
  • choosing the method he would use to avoid attracting the attention of law enforcement.

El Khalifi also asked Hussien to remotely detonate the bomb he would be wearing on the day of the attack if El Khalifi encountered problems with security officers, and to provide El Khalifi with a gun that he could use during the attack to shoot any officers who might attempt to stop him.

On February 17, 2012, El Khalifi allegedly traveled to a parking garage near the U.S. Capitol Building.  El Khalifi took possession of a MAC-10 automatic weapon and put on a vest containing what he believed to be a functioning bomb.  Unbeknownst to El Khalifi, both the weapon and the bomb had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement.  El Khalifi walked alone from the vehicle toward the United States Capitol, where he intended to shoot people and detonate the bomb.  El Khalifi was arrested and taken into custody before exiting the parking garage.

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gordon Kromberg and Michael Ben’Ary of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as Trial Attorneys Joseph Kaster and Courtney Sullivan from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint are mere allegations.  As in any criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Split Verdict for Corporate Espionage Suspect

(AP) A judge convicted a Chinese-born American Wednesday of stealing trade secrets but acquitted her of more serious charges of economic espionage at a trial that highlighted persistent fears about China pilfering vital information from U.S. companies to bolster its own economy and military.

Software developer Hanjuan Jin was accused of spiriting away more than 1,000 confidential documents from the Motorola Inc. office where she worked before heading to a Chicago airport with a one-way ticket to China.

Among the secrets she carried, prosecutors alleged, were descriptions of a walkie-talkie type feature on Motorola cellphones that government attorneys argued could have benefited the Chinese military. . . . [Read the Rest]




Threats are Out There