A Pakistan-born student of Georgia Tech in Atlanta has been found guilty of conspiring to support terrorist groups including Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan based outfit blamed for the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks.
Syed Haris Ahmed, who provided videos of important places in Washington to LeT and Al Qaeda operatives, now faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)said Wednesday after a trial court in Georgia found Ahmed guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
'This case has never been about an imminent threat to the United States, because in the post-9/11 world we will not wait to disrupt terrorism-related activity until a bomb is built and ready to explode,' said David E. Nahmias, US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
'The fuse that leads to an explosion of violence may be long, but once it is lit - once individuals unlawfully agree to support terrorist acts at home or abroad - we will prosecute them to snuff that fuse out,' he said.
'This investigation is connected to arrests and convictions of multiple terrorist supporters in Atlanta and around the world-all before any innocent people were killed,' Nahmias said adding, 'This prosecution underscores the importance of international and domestic cooperation in combating terrorism.'
In April 2005, the FBI said Ahmed and his principal co-conspirator travelled to the Washington D.C., area to take the casing videos of infrastructure targets for potential terrorist attacks, including the US Capitol, to establish their credentials with 'the jihadi brothers' as well as for use in violent jihad propaganda and planning.
Ahmed's co-conspirator allegedly sent several of the video clips to Younis Tsouli, a propagandist and recruiter for the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda in Iraq, and to Aabid Hussein Khan, a facilitator for the Pakistan-based terrorist organisations, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Both Tsouli and Khan have since been convicted of terrorism offences in the UK.
The government also presented evidence at trial that in July 2005, Ahmed travelled from Atlanta to Pakistan in an unsuccessful attempt to enter a training camp and ultimately engage in violent jihad.
Ahmed was arrested in Atlanta on March 23, 2006, on the original indictment in this case, which charged him with one count of material support of terrorism.
The initial indictment was unsealed and publicly announced on April 20, 2006, after the arrest of the alleged principal co-conspirator in Bangladesh. Superseding indictments added three additional charges.