Son of US Army Doctor Gets 10 Years on Terrorism Charge

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Central Texas man sentenced for attempting to aid terrorists.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Central Texas man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison followed by 10 years’ parole for attempting to provide material support and resources to terrorists. Durbin, Jr., United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, and Christopher Combs, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Division. Khan, 24, became the second of two young men convicted in Austin of the rare federal offense after admitting he connected an undercover agent with co-conspirators recruiting jihadi fighters to Somalia. A member of the group, 24-year-old Michael Todd Wolfe, was arrested by FBI agents in June 2014 in Houston before boarding a plane to join the Islamic State group.

Authorities say he conspired with others to recruit people who would “travel overseas to support terrorist activities including committing violent jihad.” Authorities say Khan connected a confidential FBI source with co-conspirators who eventually discussed the secret source’s “passport and possible routes to move [the source] into Somalia to join al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda-affiliated , [terrorist organization].” The documents also say the FBI source met with Khan in Austin, in an unrecorded meeting. During this time frame, Khan identified an individual in an Internet chatroom and began assessing that individual for overseas violent jihadist travel. District Judge Sam Sparks said that although Khan, of Round Rock, had pulled out of a plan to travel overseas and had cooperated fully with the government, he had been a “cog in a well-greased machine” that recruited others to pursue violent paths around the world. Khan defended himself as well, re-iterating that he’s not anti-American, but the FBI says he used his intelligence to plant seeds of hate in younger people.

Khan said that he was actively searching for recruits for [a conspirator] and he was the only person he knew of doing this.” According to court records, Khan also led a group of individuals in the Austin area who pledged loyalty to the now-deceased Taliban and terrorist leader, Mullah Omar. Among those caught in Khan’s network, which also included defendants in San Antonio and Miami, had been 24-year-old Wolfe, who was sentenced in June to nearly seven years in prison. “It was your mind that had you convinced that some of the evil in the world — from your perspective — could be eliminated,” Sparks said of the motivations behind Khan’s actions.

After Khan screened the confidential source, he made arrangements to insert him into an al-Shabaab pipeline controlled by Gufran Ahmed Kauser Mohammed and Mohamed Hussen Said. Gregg Sofer, assistant U.S. attorney, center, and Jason Cormaterie, supervising special agent overseeing the Joint Terrorism Task Force, right, talk to reporters after sentencing for Rahatul Ashikim Khan outside federal court in Austin on Friday.

Outside the courtroom Friday, prosecutors and FBI law enforcement officials hailed the investigations that netted both men, pointing to a recent phenomenon of young Americans and Europeans lured — often through online channels — into joining terrorist groups, such as ISIS, an al-Qaida offshoot that has become one of the main forces fighting government forces in Syria and Iraq. “This is not an isolated example,” FBI supervisory Special Agent Jason Cromartie said of Khan’s case. “Our families, our friends, our neighbors can be protected before they are lost or killed. Sofer and Michael Galdo, together with Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section trial attorneys Josh Parecki and Michael Dittoe, prosecuted this case on behalf of the government. But Khan’s defense lawyer, Joe Turner, argued during the sentencing hearing that there was “a distinction between catching a terrorist and creating a terrorist.” In this case, “they tried to create a criminal, but they didn’t,” Turner said. Standing before the judge, Khan said he became involved with the wrong people, who twisted his faith and led him to believe “it was my duty to act.” But Khan said he owned up to his mistakes.

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