Leaders of national Islamist organizations are calling last week's arrest in Pakistan of five D.C.-area college students who wanted to join the jihad "a wakeup call."
In federal court in Atlanta Monday was evidence of how those same organizations have been hitting the snooze button for too long.
A judge sentenced Eshanu Sadequee to 17 years in prison Monday for his role in a conspiracy to help the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The conspiracy linked with a Toronto cell that was plotting domestic attacks in Canada. Sadequee and fellow defendant Haris Ahmed videotaped their own scouting trips for targets in Washington, D.C. According to the Justice Department:
"While in Canada, Sadequee and his co-conspirators discussed their plans to travel to Pakistan in an effort to attend a paramilitary training camp operated by a terrorist organization, such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET), as preparation for engaging in violent jihad abroad or in the United States. They also discussed potential targets for terrorist attacks in the United States."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that U.S. District Judge Bill Duffey "scolded Sadequee for never expressing remorse for any of his actions. His case, the judge said, provided 'not just a glimpse into the dark side' of terrorism, but 'a full portrait.'"
Friends and families had urged leniency, saying he has grown sick in prison and that he was a young man speaking brashly about terror plots. Sadequee, acting as his own attorney, didn't help his cause when he referred to the American justice system as the ant—Christ.
Law enforcement officials say Sadequee and Ahmed may have been close to acting on their plans. Later Monday, Ahmed was sentenced to 13 years in prison, with Judge Duffey saying "While there was no attack in this case, it's because you were stopped. You are just one of many threats that face our country."