US prosecutor: 18-year-old arrested for attempting to set off car bomb outside Chicago bar

September 15, 2012

The Washington Post on September 15, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

CHICAGO — Undercover FBI agents arrested an 18-year-old American man who tried to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside a downtown Chicago bar, federal prosecutors said Saturday.

Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, was arrested Friday night in an undercover operation in which agents pretending to be terrorists provided him with a phony car bomb.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, which announced the arrest Saturday, said the device was harmless and the public was never at risk.

Daoud is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.

Someone who answered a call to Daoud’s home in Hillside on Saturday who said her name was Hiba and that she was Daoud’s sister declined to discuss Daoud, the family or the arrest.

“We don’t even know anything. We don’t know that much. We know as little as you do,” she said. “They’re just accusations.”

“We’d like to be left alone,” she said.

The FBI began monitoring Daoud after he posted material online about violent jihad and the killing of Americans, federal prosecutors said.

In May, two undercover FBI agents contacted Daoud in response to the postings and exchanged several electronic messages with him in which he expressed an interest in engaging in violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to an affidavit by an FBI special agent.

Prosecutors say that after being introduced to an undercover FBI agent who claimed to be a terrorist living in New York, Daoud set about identifying 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and tourist attractions in Chicago.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, Daoud met in the suburb of Villa Park with the undercover agent who claimed to be from New York, and the two drove to downtown Chicago, where the restaurants and bars were packed with workers ringing in the weekend on a pleasantly warm evening. According to the affidavit, they entered a parking lot where a Jeep Cherokee containing the phony bomb was parked.

Daoud drove the vehicle and parked in front of a bar that was among the pre-selected targets, then walked a block away and attempted to detonate the device by pressing a triggering mechanism in the presence of the agent, according to the affidavit. He was then arrested.

The court documents do not identify the bar.

Prosecutors said Daoud was offered several chances to change his mind and walk away from the plot.

The affidavit said the Daoud was active in jihadist Internet forums and was accessing articles written by Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric who became a key figure in the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year.

In his communications with one of the FBI agents about possible targets, Daoud allegedly said he wanted to carry out an attack that would kill a large number of people.

“I wanted something that’s … massive; I want something that’s gonna make it in the news,” he wrote, according to the affidavit. “I want to get to like, for me I want to get the most evil place, but I want to get a more populated place.””

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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.


Prosecutors say other targets eyed before New York City subway terror plot

April 16, 2012

Fox News on April 16, 2012 released the following:

“NEW YORK – A man accused of becoming an Al Qaeda operative discussed bombing New York City movie theaters, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and the New York Stock Exchange before settling on the city’s subways, a federal prosecutor said Monday.

Adis Madunjanin considered the high-profile targets with two of his former high school classmates from Queens, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Looman said in opening statements.

The men “were prepared to kill themselves and everyone else around them — men, women and children,” Looman said.

Defense attorney Robert Gottlieb accused the government of using “inflammatory rhetoric” about Al Qaeda and terrorism to prevent jurors “from seeing the truth about this case.”

“The truth is that Adis Medunjanin is not a terrorist,” he said.

There’s no dispute that Medunjanin and his two former classmates packed up and traveled together to Pakistan in 2008. But federal prosecutors say the three were homegrown Muslim extremists who, under Al Qaeda’s tutelage, came back to the United States and hatched a foiled plot to attack the New York City subways as suicide bombers.

Medunjanin, 27, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, providing material support to a terrorist organization and other charges in what U.S. officials have described as one of the most chilling terror conspiracies since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Childhood friends Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay have admitted in guilty pleas that they wanted to avenge U.S. aggression in the Arab world by becoming martyrs.

In his first public account, Ahmedzay testified Monday that Medunjanin encouraged him to follow a more radical form of Islam.

“I became very radical in my views,” he said.

While sitting in a car outside a Queens mosque, the three men “made a covenant to go to Afghanistan and fight with the mujahideen against American forces.”

Another possible witness is Bryant Neal Vinas, a Long Island man who joined Al Qaeda around the same time as the other men. Officials have credited Vinas with providing key intelligence about the terror group since his capture in 2008.

Jurors also are expected to hear evidence that following his arrest, Medunjanin told the FBI he had become a more devout Muslim about four years before the plot was exposed after he and Zazi began spending time together at a local mosque, FBI reports say. He also recalled being influenced by tapes of U.S.-born extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, they say.

In 2008, Medunjanin and his friends decided to join the Taliban and fight U.S. soldiers in retaliation for the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, the FBI reports say. The three instead were recruited by Al Qaeda operatives, who gave them weapons training in their Pakistan camp and asked them to become suicide bombers, they say.

Medunjanin told his Al Qaeda handlers “he had prayed but still wasn’t sure if he was ready to be a martyr,” the reports say. He later was sent home on his own, the reports add, after he told them “the best thing for him to do … was to return to the U.S. and provide financial support” for the terror network.

Zazi, after relocating to the Denver area, got as far as cooking up explosives and setting out by car for New York City in September 2009 to carry out the attack. He was arrested after abandoning the plan and fleeing back to Colorado.

The FBI reports say Medunjanin denied knowing what Zazi was up to. And the defense has claimed he spoke to the FBI under duress.

In a sworn statement, the defendant accused agents of making veiled threats against his family and denying him access to his attorney for 36 hours. Federal authorities insist his statements were voluntary.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said Monday that it had struck a rare deal with a convicted terrorist to provide evidence for Medunjanin’s trial. Saajid Badat, who was jailed in Britain in 2005 for his role in a 2001 plot to down an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden inside shoes, had his jail term cut from 13 years to 11 years under the agreement. Badat was an accomplice of so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid, who is serving a life sentence in the United States.

Prosecutors could not confirm whether Badat will appear in person to testify, provide written evidence or appear from his British jail via a video link.

Prosecutors in Britain said details of the deal were not disclosed at the time it was struck; a judge ordered the information to remain confidential until the U.S. case began.

It meant that Badat was released on parole — having served part of his reduced 11 year sentence — in 2010, before the detail of his arrangement with prosecutors was made public Monday.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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.


Adis Medunjanin’s Federal Criminal Trial in Federal Court in Brooklyn is Set to Begin

April 16, 2012

Associated Press on April 16, 2012 released the following:

“NYC Man Faces Terror Trial

By TOM HAYS

There’s no dispute that Adis Medunjanin and two of his former high school classmates from Queens packed up and traveled together to Pakistan in 2008.

But federal prosecutors say the three were homegrown Muslim extremists who, under al-Qaida’s tutelage, came back to the United States and hatched a foiled plot to attack the New York City subways as suicide bombers. Lawyers for Medunjanin claim he never was a threat.

A jury is set to hear both sides Monday in opening statements at Medunjanin’s trial in federal court in Brooklyn.

Medunjanin, 27, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, providing material support to a terrorist organization and other charges in what U.S. officials have described as one of the most chilling terror conspiracies since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Childhood friends Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay have admitted in guilty pleas that they wanted to avenge U.S. aggression in the Arab world by becoming martyrs. Both could be called by the government to testify against Medunjanin.

Another possible witness is Bryant Neal Vinas, a Long Island man who joined al-Qaida around the same time as the other men. Officials have credited Vinas with providing key intelligence about the terror group since his capture in 2008.

Jurors also are expected to hear evidence that following his arrest, Medunjanin told the FBI he had become a more devout Muslim about four years before the plot was exposed after he and Zazi began spending time together at a local mosque, FBI reports say. He also recalled being influenced by tapes of U.S.-born extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, they say.

In 2008, Medunjanin and his friends decided to join the Taliban and fight U.S. soldiers in retaliation for the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, the FBI reports say. The three instead were recruited by al-Qaida operatives, who gave them weapons training in their Pakistan camp and asked them to become suicide bombers, they say.

Medunjanin told his al-Qaida handlers “he had prayed but still wasn’t sure if he was ready to be a martyr,” the reports say. He later was sent home on his own, the reports add, after he told them “the best thing for him to do … was to return to the U.S. and provide financial support” for the terror network.

Zazi, after relocating to the Denver area, got as far as cooking up explosives and setting out by car for New York City in September 2009 to carry out the attack. He was arrested after abandoning the plan and fleeing back to Colorado.

The FBI reports say Medunjanin denied knowing what Zazi was up to. And the defense has claimed he spoke to the FBI under duress.

In a sworn statement, the defendant accused agents of making veiled threats against his family and denying him access to his attorney for 36 hours. Federal authorities insist his statements were voluntary.”

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

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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.


U.S. Law May Allow Killings, Holder Says

March 6, 2012

The New York Times on March 5, 2012 released the following:

“By CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asserted on Monday that it is lawful for the government to kill American citizens if officials deem them to be operational leaders of Al Qaeda who are planning attacks on the United States and if capturing them alive is not feasible.

“Given the nature of how terrorists act and where they tend to hide, it may not always be feasible to capture a United States citizen terrorist who presents an imminent threat of violent attack,” Mr. Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school. “In that case, our government has the clear authority to defend the United States with lethal force.”

While Mr. Holder is not the first administration official to address the targeted killing of citizens — the Pentagon’s general counsel, Jeh Johnson, did so last month at Yale Law School, for example — it was notable for the nation’s top law enforcement official to declare that it is constitutional for the government to kill citizens without any judicial review under certain circumstances. Mr. Holder’s remarks about the targeted killing of United States citizens were a centerpiece of a speech describing legal principles behind the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies.

“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces,” Mr. Holder said. “This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

Mr. Holder’s speech has been planned since last fall, when questions were first raised about the Obama administration’s legal justification for the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born radical Muslim cleric who died in an American drone strike last September. The administration has rejected bipartisan calls to release a secret memorandum by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which signed off on killing Mr. Awlaki. Mr. Holder’s speech was designed to offer the public some explanation of the government’s reasoning.

Still, the speech contained no footnotes or specific legal citations, and it fell far short of the level of detail contained in the Office of Legal Counsel memo — or in an account of its contents published in October by The New York Times based on descriptions by people who had read it.

The administration has declined to confirm that the memo exists, and late last year, The Times filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act asking a judge to order the Justice Department to make it public. In February, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a broader lawsuit, seeking both the memo and the evidence against Mr. Awlaki.

Last month, Justice Department court filings against Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009, provided a detailed account — based on his interrogations — of Mr. Awlaki’s alleged involvement.

Mr. Holder, by contrast, did not acknowledge the killing of Mr. Awlaki or provide new details about him, although he did mention him in passing as “a U.S. citizen and a leader” of Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch when discussing Mr. Abdulmutallab.

Although widely reported, American drone operations over Yemen are considered to be covert by the administration. Mr. Holder said that while he could not “discuss or confirm any particular program or operation,” he believed it was important to publicly explain national security legal principles.

Those began, he said, with the authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda and its allies, enacted by Congress shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an authority that he said extended beyond the traditional battlefields of Afghanistan because Al Qaeda members are moving — and launching attacks — from elsewhere.

He also said that some threats come from “a small number of United States citizens” who are plotting attacks from abroad, and that “United States citizenship alone does not make such individuals immune from being targeted.”

He focused on one situation in which someone could be killed without a trial: when a citizen who is believed to be an operational leader of Al Qaeda or its allies and who is plotting attacks; who is located in a country that either granted the United States permission to strike or that is unable or unwilling to suppress the threat on its own; and whose capture is not feasible.

Significantly, Mr. Holder did not say that such a situation is the only kind in which it would be lawful to kill a citizen. Rather, he said it would be lawful “at least” under those conditions. Later, he offered an example of another situation in which it would be lawful to kill a citizen even if all those requirements were not met: “operations that take place on traditional battlefields.””

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions 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.


Holder expected to explain rationale for targeting U.S. citizens abroad

March 5, 2012

The Washington Post on March 4, 2012 released the following:

“By Sari Horwitz and Peter Finn

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Monday plans to provide the most detailed account to date of the Obama administration’s legal rationale for killing U.S. citizens abroad, as it did in last year’s airstrike against an alleged al-Qaeda operative in Yemen, officials said.

The rationale Holder plans to offer resembles, in its broad strokes, those previously offered by lower-ranking officials. But his speech Monday will mark a new and higher-profile phase of the administration’s campaign to justify lethal action in those rare instances in which U.S. citizens, such as New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki, join terrorist causes devoted to harming their homeland.

Civil libertarians and other critics have been demanding a more thorough and public accounting of the administration’s logic since the killing of Awlaki in September. Administration officials have relied on a classified opinion, written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, that provides a legal framework for the unusual action, but they have refused repeated requests to release it despite intense internal debate on the subject.

Holder plans to argue that the killing of an American terrorist abroad is legal under the 2001 congressional authorization of the use of military force, according to an official briefed on the speech, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss its details ahead of its formal release. This official also said Holder plans to say that the U.S. right to self-defense is not limited to traditional battlefields as the government pursues terrorists who present an imminent threat.

Awlaki, 40, was a skilled propagandist and the chief of external operations for al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, which has attempted a number of terrorist attacks on the United States, according to administration officials. He had been placed on “kill lists” compiled by the CIA and and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command. Awlaki died when a joint CIA-JSOC drone operation fired missiles at him.

He was the first U.S. citizen deliberately targeted by the U.S. government.

Major address on security

The Awlaki operation was carried out after the administration requested and received the Justice Department opinion saying that targeting and killing U.S. citizens overseas was legal under domestic and international law, according to administration officials. The classified memo also included intelligence material about his operational role within al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

Senior Obama administration officials, including John O. Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism adviser, and Harold Koh, the State Department legal adviser, have given speeches that offered a broad rationale for U.S. drone attacks on individuals in al-Qaeda and associated forces.

On Feb. 22, in a speech at Yale Law School, Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson said the targeted killing of those suspected of engaging in terrorist activities against the United States, including U.S. citizens, is justified and legal. He did not mention Awlaki by name or the secret CIA drone program.”

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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 Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions 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.


Texas man accused of trying to help al-Qaida with money, GPS, military documents goes on trial

November 7, 2011

The Washington Post on November 7, 2011 released the following:

“By Associated Press

HOUSTON — A Texas man accused of trying to sneak out of the U.S. to join al-Qaida fighters in the Middle East and provide the group with money, equipment and U.S. military documents will be tried Monday on terrorism charges.

Prosecutors allege that Barry Walter Bujol Jr., 30, said he wanted to “die with the brothers for the cause of Allah, and to be in Heaven.” A U.S. citizen, he was arrested in May 2010 after using fake identification to sneak into a Houston port and board a ship bound for the Middle East, authorities said.

An FBI informant had given Bujol a bag filled with GPS receivers, two nonpublic restricted-access Army manuals and other items he had allegedly agreed to courier to al-Qaida operatives in the Middle East. Authorities say Bujol believed the informant was a recruiter for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

An FBI task force claims that Bujol had been emailing Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric with ties to al-Qaida, and is believed to have exchanged emails with Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in the November 2009 Fort Hood shootings.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in late September in Yemen.

Authorities say Bujol made three unsuccessful attempts during February and March 2009 to travel overseas to Yemen or the Middle East.

He was arrested after a two-year investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and aggravated identity theft.

Bujol, from Hempstead, northwest of Houston, had been set to plead guilty in the case in October 2010, but he changed his mind. He fired two attorneys, decided to represent himself and has elected to have a judge, not a jury, decide his case.

According to court documents, Bujol used at least 14 email addresses to hide his activities from authorities and advocated attacking U.S. facilities where military weapons were manufactured.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions 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.