Pre-crime Reports

  • This Virginia teen will spend 11 years in prison for helping ISIS through social media

    Source: The Washington Post. A U.S. district judge sentenced a Virginia teen to more than a decade in prison Friday after he used Twitter to help ISIS supporters hide their financial transactions and would-be foreign fighters looking to travel to Syria. Ali Shukri Amin won’t just have to serve a 136-month sentence after pleading guilty to giving “material support” to ISIS — he’ll also have to let the government monitor his Internet usage for the rest of his life. But the sentence is actually somewhat lighter than what prosecutors had sought, which was 15 years in prison.

  • Killing of Detroit Imam in 2009 described as “nothing less than a cover-up”

    Source: The Intercept. On October 28, 2009, dozens of heavily armed FBI agents swarmed a warehouse in Dearborn, Michigan, to execute an arrest warrant against Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, and several other men, who had been accused of fencing stolen merchandise. What exactly happened next remains in dispute, but the raid resulted in Abdullah being shot more than 20 times and dying on the scene. An FBI press release issued later that day said that Abdullah, an imam at a mosque on Detroit’s West Side, “did not surrender and fired [a] weapon. An exchange of gun fire followed and Abdullah was killed.” This version of events has been fiercely contested by Abdullah’s lawyers and family, as well as an eyewitness to the shooting. Now, representatives of Abdullah’s estate are attempting to take his case to the Supreme Court, arguing that he was unlawfully killed during the 2009 encounter, and that the FBI and local law enforcement staged a cover-up.

  • Attorneys: FBI paid $41K to ISIS terror case informant ‘Rover’

    Source: MPR News. Attorneys for the six men accused of trying to flee the Twin Cities to join the terrorist group ISIS are demanding federal prosecutors identify an informant who played a key role in cracking the case. The FBI paid an informant who went by the name “Rover” and was identified in court documents as CHS. CHS was paid more than $41,000 from January 2014 to May 2015, according to documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by Minneapolis-based attorney Andrew Birrell. Attorneys for Hamza Ahmed, Adnan Farah, Abdurahman Daud, Zacharia Abdurahman, Hanad Musse and Guled Omar, question the informant’s credibility. They say investigators knew CHS lied about his criminal history and recently admitted to the FBI that before becoming an informant, CHS was part of a conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

  • Federal Judge takes nuanced approach in US terrorism cases

    Source: Associated Press. Federal judges in Chicago, New York and other U.S. cities typically take a hardline approach to terrorism suspects, locking them up after hearing from prosecutors that these men and women have embraced violent ideologies and are a threat to national security. But U.S. District Judge Michael Davis — who’s handled all of the recent terrorism cases in Minnesota, where a large Somali community has been a target for recruits for the Islamic State group and al-Shabab — takes a nuanced approach. He’s considering pretrial release for some, asking attorneys and the community to create plans that will keep the public safe and steer the young men in a positive direction. As dozens of similar cases proceed nationwide, Davis’ actions could become a model for other courts, or could prove disastrous if he takes a risk on the wrong person.

  • FBI’s Key West counterterrorism sting target “a little slow”

    Source: The Intercept. The U.S. government alleges that 23-year-old Cuban-American Harlem Suarez conspired with an FBI informant and undercover agents to bomb a stretch of beach in Key West. The FBI affidavit supporting the criminal complaint portrays Suarez as a bumbler who lived with his parents — not an uncommon description for targets of FBI counterterrorism stings. ISuarez is the latest man to be arrested as part of an increased push to nab Islamic State sympathizers in FBI counterterrorism stings. These stings, like the ones over the previous decade that targeted so-called lone wolf Qaeda sympathizers, are catching people of questionable capacity who may not even be in contact with the Islamic State. Some of these recent targets have been described as mentally ill.

  • Florida man, accused of terrorism based on book collection, set free

    Source: The Intercept, The U.S. government had produced “snippets of information from various sources, out of context, to weave together a narrative of terrorist ideation,” a Florida judge said Friday, ordering the release of Marcus Dwayne Robertson, an Orlando-based Islamic scholar who stood accused of supporting terrorism. Robertson, also known as “Abu Taubah,” had been incarcerated since 2011 on charges of tax fraud and illegal gun possession. After his arrest and subsequent conviction on those charges, prosecutors sought to add a terrorism enhancement to his sentence, a sentencing guideline modification that would have sent the Islamic scholar to prison for up to 20 years. Instead, following the judge’s rejection of the enhancement, he was sentenced to time served and ordered released immediately.

  • Lawyer: Student guilty of terrorism is gifted student, high achiever

    Pre-crime Reports June 16, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: USA Today. The 17-year-old honors student who plead guilty Thursday to assisting the Islamic State’s recruiting campaign was an avid competitor in robotics contests and the founder of a community service club. Ali Shukri Amin, one of the youngest Americans to face such serious terrorism charges, attended Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Va. He was also dually enrolled in the prestigious Governor’s School at George Mason University – a program for high-achieving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students. Amin admitted to helping his 18-year-old friend, Reza Niknejad, travel oversees to join ISIL and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

  • Double agent: An FBI informant makes a new career as a defense expert

    Source: The Intercept. Not long after the U.S. Department of Justice announced terrorism charges in February against a group of Brooklyn men who allegedly plotted to join the Islamic State in Syria, a defense lawyer for one of the men received an unusual phone call. It was from Craig Monteilh, a former FBI informant who is positioning himself as a for-hire expert witness and defense consultant. Monteilh offered a cocksure proposition — he could help derail the government’s case, which relied on an FBI informant to help facilitate the alleged plot. In fact, Monteilh volunteered, he’d already helped to undermine one counterterrorism prosecution. He could do it again, he promised.

  • Terror suspect says US used jail informants improperly

    Source: Associated Press. A Kenyan man accused of supporting terrorists around the world claims in new court documents that jailhouse informants were improperly used as U.S. government agents to gather evidence against him. The FBI used as many as five informants to gather what may be incriminating evidence against Mohamed Said and obtain the defense’s trial strategy, attorney Silvia Pinera-Vazquez said in court documents. She also said attempts were made by some informants to persuade Said to seek a different lawyer who might cut a deal for him to plead guilty rather than go to trial. The motion asks a judge to suppress any evidence from the informants, contending such actions would violate Said’s constitutional rights to effective legal counsel.

  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s path to extremism intertwined with FBI contacts

    Source: The Intercept. The trial has also revived questions about the nature and extent of the FBI’s contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev during the period in which he began to publicly evince support for extremist violence. In the years leading up to the bombing, as he became increasingly erratic in his public behavior, he and his family are believed to have had multiple contacts with FBI agents in the Boston area. These 2011 interviews with Tsarnaev and his family would later raise questions about the nature of the FBI’s relationship with him before the bombing, even prompting Republican Senator Chuck Grassley to issue an open letter to FBI Director James Comey asking whether Tsarnaev had been the target of a sting operation, or if had been employed as an informant by the bureau. In a response, Comey denied the bureau had employed Tsarnaev, while declining to elaborate further on any contacts it may have had with him.