Monday was a productive day in law enforcement's ongoing effort to thwart terrorist plots before people get hurt.
In New York, a judge unsealed a December 2011 guilty plea by a Somali national for providing material support to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame's plea has been under seal. He was taken into custody in the Gulf of Aden in April 2011 as he traveled between Somalia and Yemen. He was kept at sea for two months of questioning by intelligence officials before the criminal charges were filed.
In addition to fighting for al-Shabaab, Warsame procured weapons from AQAP and taught others to use explosives. He also worked with American citizens in conspiring to support AQAP with money, equipment and people. Warsame has cooperated with U.S. investigators, providing what a source described to CBS News as "an intelligence watershed."
"Ahmed Warsame served as a critical link between two foreign terrorist organizations and was an operational terrorist leader, commanding hundreds of fighters," Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin said in a statement. "His capture, successful interrogation, and guilty plea demonstrate how U.S. military, intelligence, and law enforcement assets coordinate to neutralize threats and protect the country."
In addition, a jury convicted Abdel Hameed Shehadeh of repeatedly lying about his attempts to join the Taliban or al-Qaida during trips to Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. When Pakistan refused to let him into the country, Shehadeh returned to the United States and tried to enlist in the U.S. Army.
"[H]is true motive was to deploy overseas, where he would commit treason by defecting and fighting alongside insurgent forces," a government statement said. Shehadeh, a 23-year-old former Staten Island resident, faces a maximum 21-year prison sentence.
Another would-be terrorist was sentenced Monday. A federal judge in Seattle ordered Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif to spend 18 years in prison for plotting to attack a military processing center with machine guns and grenades. Latif, a convert to Islam born as Joseph Anthony Davis, pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to murder U.S. officers and to use weapons of mass destruction.
An informant alerted law enforcement to plans Abdul-Latif made with a co-conspirator to attack the center. Their discussions were audio and videotaped, and Abdul-Latif worked to obtain the weapons needed. He planned to attack the center on a Monday in July 2011, when it would be crowded with new recruits. Officials fear children at an adjacent day-care center would have been killed had the attack occurred.
"Abdul-Latif undertook his plot in furtherance of his long-standing and deeply felt radical beliefs," the prosecution sentencing memo said. "To this day, he has not disavowed the radical ideology that inspired his attack plot, nor has he expressed any meaningful remorse for his conduct."