FBI: “Former U.S. Soldier Charged with Conspiring to Use Destructive Device While Fighting with al Qaeda-Affiliated Group in Syria”

March 29, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 28, 2013 released the following:

“ALEXANDRIA, VA— Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, was arrested and charged with conspiring to use a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) while fighting with the al Nusrah Front, an organization commonly referred to as “al Qaeda in Iraq” and designated as a foreign terrorist organization since October 2004.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.

Harroun, a U.S. citizen who served with the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2003, was charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to use a destructive device outside of the United States, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, if convicted. Harroun made his initial appearance today in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan.

The al Nusrah Front is one of several aliases used by the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist organization, and since November 2011, the group has claimed responsibility for nearly 600 terrorist attacks in Syria.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Harroun allegedly crossed into Syria in January 2013 and fought with members of the al Nusrah Front against the Bashar al Assad regime in Syria. The affidavit alleges that Harroun was trained to use an RPG by members of the terrorist organization and that he fired an RPG and posted online multiple photographs of himself carrying or posing with RPGs and other military weapons. Harroun allegedly participated in attacks led by the al Nusrah Front and was part of an RPG team, for which he carried anti-personnel and anti-armor rockets.

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Peterson, Carter Burwell, and Lynn Haaland are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States, with assistance from the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Ex-CIA man likely to plead guilty in leak case

October 23, 2012

The Associated Press on October 22, 2012 released the following:

“By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former CIA officer accused of leaking the names of covert operatives to journalists is expected to enter a guilty plea as part of a plea deal.

A change of plea hearing was scheduled for Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., for John Kiriakou. He initially pleaded not guilty to the charges that he disclosed the names of two covert CIA operatives.

The apparent change comes shortly after Kiriakou lost a key pre-trial ruling that established a lower legal burden for prosecutors to prove their case. Kiriakou’s lawyers had argued unsuccessfully that prosecutors should have to prove that Kirkiakou intended to harm the United States through his alleged leaks. Such a strict legal standard had been imposed recently on a leaks prosecution against two pro-Israel lobbyists.

But U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled last week that such a high standard should not apply to Kiriakou, a government employee with top-secret security clearances who knew well the dangers of disclosing classified information.

Instead, prosecutors would only have to show that Kiriakou had “reason to believe” that the information could be used to injure the U.S.

Court records do not make clear exactly what charges Kiriakou would plead to. When he was indicted in April, he was charged with one count of disclosing classified information identifying a covert agent, three counts of illegally disclosing national defense information and one count of making false statements. He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted on all counts in the indictment.

Kiriakou, who wrote a book detailing his CIA career, had tried to argue after the charges were filed that he was a victim of vindictive prosecution by government officials who believed he portrayed the CIA negatively, but the judge rejected those arguments as well.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride, whose office is prosecuting the case, declined comment Monday. Kiriakou’s attorney, Robert Trout, also declined comment.

Kiriakou was a CIA veteran who played a role in the agency’s capture of al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded by government interrogators and eventually revealed information that led to the arrest of “dirty bomb” plotter Jose Padilla and exposed Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Accounts conflict, though, over whether the waterboarding was helpful in gleaning intelligence from Zubaydah. Kiriakou, who did not participate in the waterboarding, expressed ambivalence in news media interviews about use of the tactic.

Court papers indicate that the investigation of Kiriakou began in 2009 when authorities became alarmed after discovering that detainees at Guantanamo Bay possessed photographs of CIA and FBI personnel. The investigation eventually led back to the alleged leaks by Kiriakou, according to a government affidavit.

The papers indicate prosecutors believe Kiriakou leaked the name of one covert operative to a journalist, who subsequently disclosed the name to an investigator working for the lawyer of a Guantanamo detainee.

Kiriakou had planned to subpoena three journalists connected to the case. Those journalists had filed motions to quash the subpoenas, but that issue will now be rendered moot by the apparent plea deal.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Cooper Kweme Indicted by an Alexandria Federal Grand Jury for Sex Trafficking, Transportation of a Minor for Prostitution, and Production of Child Pornography

July 25, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia on July 22, 2011 released the following:

“ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Cooper Kweme, 31, of Silver Spring, Md., has been indicted by a federal grand jury of sex trafficking, transportation of a minor for prostitution, and production of child pornography.

Neil MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police made the announcement.

“It’s anguishing to think that contact through a teen social site could lead a vulnerable girl into the world of sex slavery,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Mr. Kweme is accused of recruiting girls online and other locations to work for his prostitution business. Our youth must be vigilant against predators trolling on social networking sites, like Tagged, and bring any suspicious activity to the attention of law enforcement so we can catch sex traffickers before they can enslave more victims.”

According to the indictment and court records, Kweme allegedly operated a prostitution business in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, and used the Internet to advertise women as prostitutes. In February 2011, Kweme is accused of recruiting a juvenile female to work as a prostitute after meeting her on an online social network targeted at teens. Kweme subsequently posted photographs of the juvenile on the Internet, including a sexually explicit photograph. Kweme was arrested by the Arlington County Police Department on June 1, 2011, and later charged in federal court. Kweme is scheduled to be arraigned on July 29, 2011, in the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

If convicted, Kweme faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison for the sex trafficking and transportation of a minor for prostitution charges. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison for the production of child pornography charge.

This case was investigated by the Arlington County Police Department and FBI’s Northern Virginia Resident Agency. Assistant United States Attorneys Morris Parker and Mary Daly are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Pennsylvania Man Indicted for Allegedly Soliciting Jihadists to Kill Americans

July 14, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 14, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Emerson Winfield Begolly, 22, of New Bethlehem, Pa., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., today for allegedly soliciting Islamic extremists to engage in acts of terrorism within the United States and posting bomb-making instruction materials online.

The indictment was announced by Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office; and David J. Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“Emerson Begolly is accused of repeatedly using the Internet to promote violent jihad against Americans,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “These allegations demonstrate how young people in the United States can become influenced by – and eventually participate in – jihadist propaganda that is a serious threat to the safety of us all.”

“Today’s case underscores the continuing threat posed by homegrown extremists seeking to use the Internet to incite violence,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco.

“Today, the FBI is faced with a complex threat environment that combines homegrown extremism and the Internet,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “The FBI’s top priority is stopping terrorism, and we remain vigilant against those who solicit violent acts in the United States.”

“Those who attempt to harm or kill Americans will face a determined, coordinated law enforcement effort,” said U.S. Attorney Hickton.

According to the two-count indictment, Begolly has been an active moderator of a popular, internationally known Islamic extremist web forum, the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF), used by its members to promote and distribute jihadist propaganda. The indictment alleges that since July 2010, Begolly has placed a number of postings encouraging attacks within the United States, including the use of firearms, explosives and propane tanks against targets such as police stations, post offices, synagogues military facilities, train lines, bridges, cell phone towers and water plants.

Following the reported shootings in Northern Virginia at the Pentagon and the Marine Corps Museum in October 2010, Begolly allegedly posted a comment online that praised the shootings and hoped the shooter had followed his previous postings encouraging similar acts of violence that might “seem small but cause big damage.”

On Dec. 28, 2010, Begolly allegedly posted links to a 101-page document that contains information on how to set up a laboratory, conduct basic chemistry and manufacture explosives.

The indictment charges Begolly with solicitation to commit a crime of violence, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

On Feb. 2, 2011, Begolly was indicted for allegedly assaulting federal agents and firearms-related charges in the Western District of Pennsylvania. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the charges filed in that district.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Hammerstrom of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia’s National Security and International Crime Unit, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Trial Attorney Stephen Ponticiello of the Counterterrorism Section in the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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