U.S. District Judge William Duffey this morning convicted Syed Haris Ahmed of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorist organizations. Evidence introduced at Ahmed's trial last week showed he went to Canada to meet with members of the "Toronto 18," an accused Canadian terror cell, in 2005. They discussed possible targets for a terrorist attack on the United States.
Ahmed and an alleged co-conspirator, Ehsan Islam Sadequee, went to Washington in 2005 and shot crude surveillance video of targets including the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. His attorney, Jack Martin, tried to dismiss his Ahmed's actions as "childish" and unlikely to cause any genuine harm. But the government countered by pointing to Ahmed's detailed confession, in which he proposed attacking military bases, oil storage facilities and refineries.
"I wanted to attack these places because oil is being stolen from Muslims," Ahmed told investigators. "We discussed using either lasers or jammers to disrupt the GPS," Ahmed said. "This attack would cause confusion for everyone, including the military."
Prosecutors pointed out that Ahmed did not need to carry out an attack to create harm. Ahmed's communication with other plotters advanced their cause. "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," U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said in a statement. "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."
Ahmed faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced. Sentencing has been deferred until the conclusion of Sadequee's trial which is scheduled to begin August 3. Judge Duffey has scheduled a court hearing for tomorrow on the verdict.