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|Would-be NYC subway bomber Najibullah Zazi to be released on time served|
|[NYPost] A Queens man caught preparing for a 9/11 anniversary suicide on the subways under Grand Central will soon walk out of prison thanks to a sentence that amounts to his time already served, a judge ruled Thursday.|
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|International bomb plotter jailed for 40 years in US|
|A Pakistani man extradited from the UK to the US has been sentenced to 40 years in jail for plotting attacks in several countries. Abid Naseer, 29, was sentenced by a federal judge in New York.|
US authorities said he had been part of a plot to attack Manchester, New York City and Copenhagen.
In March, a jury found him guilty of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device.
FBI assistant director-in-charge Diego Rodriguez said that Naseer, who moved to the UK to study, failed to use the British education visa system to make the best of his life. Instead, he exploited it "to take away the lives of many others in large numbers", said Mr Rodriguez.
Naseer was first arrested in the UK in 2009, along with 11 other men, suspected of planning a bomb attack on the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester over the Easter weekend. No explosives were found but the men were ordered to leave the country. Mr Naseer avoided deportation after a judge ruled it was likely he would not be safe if he returned to Pakistan.
Abid Naseer says he's not guilty. He defended himself throughout the trial, but his legal advisers say they'll appeal - and not just against the sentence which they believe is overly harsh. They say this was not a fair trial and Naseer should have appeared in court in the UK, not in front of a jury in a post 9/11 New York.
But US prosecutors say the 29-year-old was capable of mass murder. They say he remains a threat and they're delighted by the sentence. They hope it sends a message to terrorists that they will be caught and they will be put behind bars for life.
Naseer appealed to the judge that he was not - nor had he ever been - a "career criminal". But Judge Raymond Dearie had a response.
"I know you're not," he replied. "You're a terrorist."
UK officials arrested him again in 2010 at the request of US prosecutors. In 2013 he was extradited to the US, where prosecutors argued Naseer was part of a broader al-Qaeda conspiracy to attack various Western locations, including the New York subway system and a newspaper office in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The US Department of Justice said the plots were "directed by and co-ordinated with senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan".
Evidence at Naseer's trial included a document found in the raid of the Bin Laden compound and MI5 officers testifying in wigs. His defence was largely based on his own testimony and cross-examining prosecution witnesses.
Prosecutors brought in MI5 agents who had previously tracked Naseer in 2009 at a shopping centre in the UK. They also relied on the testimony of two co-conspirators who pleaded guilty to the subway plot - Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay. Prosecutors say coded emails show all three men were under the direction of the same al-Qaeda handler.
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|Texas-born al Qaeda suspect pleads not guilty in New York|
|[Al Ahram] A US citizen accused of traveling to Pakistain to train with al Qaeda to terrorism charges in federal court in New York on Thursday. |
Texas-born Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh spoke only briefly during a short court appearance in Brooklyn, confirming to a US judge that he understood the indictment against him and his rights.
Prosecutors said Farekh was at least partially radicalized by the online sermons of , the US-born preacher associated with al who was killed in in a 2011 US drone strike.
That was the first instance in which the United States targeted and killed an American citizen with a strike, prompting criticism from civil liberties advocates that the act was unlawful.
Farekh studied at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, according to prosecutors. Around 2007, he and two other students, Ferid Imam and an unnamed person, decided to travel to remote tribal areas along Pakistain's border with Afghanistan and train with al Qaeda, US authorities said.
Imam also provided training at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistain in September 2008 to Najibullah Zazi and two other men later convicted of plotting a attack in the New York City subway system, according to the US Justice Department.
Imam's whereabouts are unknown.
The criminal complaint against Farekh said that two cooperating witnesses in his case were also involved in the subway plot.
Farekh faces charges of providing material support to as well as attempting and conspiring to provide such support. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
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|US trial: Pakistani says he 'posed as a woman' to meet women, not plot terror|
|[DAWN] A Pak man on trial in the US for planning to bomb a British shopping center testified on Thursday he was exaggerating his prowess with women in online chats and emails he sent mentioning potential wedding dates and a bride, denying the communiqués were coded to disguise an Al Qaeda plot.|
Abid Naseer, taking the stand in his own defense, told a jury in Brooklyn federal court that he was posing as a woman to meet other women in a Yahoo chat-room in November 2008 when he connected with another man also posing as a woman.
"We discussed studies, life and women," said Naseer, who has "I exaggerated my success with women ... to keep my male pride."
He faces life in prison if convicted. He was extradited to New York in 2013.
Questioned by a court-appointed adviser, Naseer denied emails mentioning a nikah, or Islamic wedding, specific female names and a ceremony to take place on Easter weekend 2009 were coded to disguise a forthcoming plot.
While he did have an on-again-off-again relationship with at least one woman, they were broken up at the time and had no wedding planned when the emails were sent, Naseer testified.
"I'm bored of being a bachelor now," he wrote in a January 2009 email to the person prosecutors say was the Al Qaeda handler, known in the emails as Sohaib. "There will be a huge party for everyone. "
Naseer testified he never learned the true identity of Sohaib because the Internet is meant to be anonymous.
"In the Internet world it's very rare to know real identities," he said. "The Internet is a world where you have multiple identities."
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|How did secret phone program help foil NYC plot?|
| The government's broad programs to collect U.S. phone records and Internet traffic helped disrupt a 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subways, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.|
But the assertion raises as many questions as it answers because court testimony indicated the subway plot investigation began with an email.
Over the past days, The Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post have revealed classified documents showing how the National Security Agency sweeps up phone records and Internet data in its hunt for terrorists. Those programs have come under criticism from civil libertarians and some in Congress who say they were too broad and collected too much about innocent Americans.
In one of those programs, the NSA's collected daily records of millions of phone calls made and received by U.S. citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who leads the House Intelligence Committee, credited that effort with thwarting a terrorism plot. But he did not elaborate.
The senior U.S. intelligence official who asserted Friday that the phone records program together with other technical intercepts thwarted the subway plot would not provide other details. The official was not authorized to discuss the plot publicly and requested anonymity.
Afghan-American Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty in the 2009 plot, saying he had been recruited by al-Qaida in Pakistan.
|Headley listed among 5 high-value targets|
|President Barack Obamas top counterterrorism adviser John Brennan has listed convicted key Mumbai terror attack plotter David Coleman Headley among five high-value targets that had been captured with US intelligence support.|
Brennan, Obamas nominee to be the next chief of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), listed Pakistani-American Headley, who was last month sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment by a Chicago court for his role in the Lashkar-e-Taiba staged November 2008 Mumbai attack, in response to questions from a Senate panel.
Since January 2009 when he became Obamas terrorism adviser, dozens of individuals have been arrested, detained, interrogated, and convicted of terrorism-related offences in federal court, he told the Senate Intelligence Committee in written answers Friday.
Individuals arrested here in the United States include David Headley, Mansoor Arbabsiar, Najibullah Zazi, Faisal Shahzad, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Individuals initially taken into US custody overseas include Ahmed Ghailani, Jesse Curtis Morton, Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, and Betim Kaziu, and subsequently brought to the United States for interrogation and prosecution, Brennan said.
In response to other questions, Brennan said setting up a special court to oversee deadly drone strikes against American citizens is worth considering but raises difficult questions over how much authority it would have in decisions currently made by the president.
It would raise some novel, and potentially difficult, questions and furthermore would grant courts authority over decisions that have traditionally been exercised principally, if not exclusively, by the executive branch, he said.
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|Extradited al Qaeda suspect pleads not guilty in US court|
|[Dawn] A Pak man accused of taking part in an international al Qaeda plot to attack targets in the United States and Europe to terrorism charges during his first US court appearance Monday in New York.|
Abid Naseer, 26, was extradited on Thursday from to Brooklyn, New York. He is facing up to life in prison on charges including providing material support to al Qaeda and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in connection with an alleged plot to bomb a city center in Manchester, England.
The charges against Naseer are also connected to an alleged al Qaeda plot in 2009 to bomb the subway system in New York City, US prosecutors said. Two men, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, have pleaded guilty to planning the attacks and a third man, Adis Medunjanin, was sentenced to life in prison after his conviction last year for taking part in the plot.
During a brief court appearance in Brooklyn federal court, Naseer, wearing a bright blue t-shirt and black sneakers, pleaded not guilty to the charges through his court-appointed lawyer. The judge ordered Naseer to be held in detention without bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 7.
Naseer is one of a dozen men, mostly students from Pakistain, who were in in 2009 on suspicion of plotting to bomb a city center in Manchester. British authorities conducted daylight raids on the suspects' homes after 's most senior counter-terrorism official was photographed openly carrying details about the operation.
British authorities said they found large quantities of flour and oil in the suspects' homes, as well as highlighted surveillance photographs of public areas in Manchester and a map of the city center.
Naseer and the other suspects were never charged, but British and US authorities said Naseer was part of a broader al Qaeda cell bent on staging attacks in the United States and Scandinavia.
Naseer was indicted in Brooklyn federal court in 2010, along with Medunjanin and other individuals alleged to be linked through a multi-national al Qaeda conspiracy.
US prosecutors said Naseer and Zazi coordinated their plans through emails to the same Pakistain-based al Qaeda , "Ahmad," using similar code words to discuss explosives and the timing of their respective plots.
Naseer was re-arrested by British authorities in 2010 after a US warrant was issued. He fought extradition, saying he feared he could be sent from the US to Pakistain and subjected there to torture. Naseer's appeal was rejected last month by the European Court of Human Rights, paving the way for him to stand trial in the United States.
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|NYC Subway bomb plotter sentenced to life + 95 years|
|A man who was convicted of plotting with two friends to carry out a coordinated on New York City subways was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.|
Federal authorities deemed the plan one of the most dangerous terrorist plots against the city.
The man, Adis Medunjanin, 28, who was born in Bosnia and grew up in Queens, was considered the heart and soul of the plot -- though not its -- the one whose increasingly radical beliefs in Islam inspired him and two high school friends to participate in jihad They went to Pakistain with the hope of joining the Taliban in the fight against American troops and wound up at a training camp run by Al Qaeda.
Although his two friends, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, pleaded guilty to participating in the plot, Mr. Medunjanin maintained his innocence and went to trial. He was convicted of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiring to commit murder abroad, as well as of providing material support to Al Qaeda and receiving military training from Al Qaeda, among other charges..
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|New York Bomb Plotter Convicted on Terror Charges|
|[An Nahar] An American who U.S. officials said was an al-Qaeda operative was convicted Tuesday on terrorism charges for plotting with two accomplices to launch suicide s in the New York subway system.|
Adis Medunjanin, a resident of Queens, New York, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison after being convicted of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and providing material support to al-Qaeda, among other charges.
Judge John Gleeson was scheduled to sentence the 28-year-old Medunjanin on September 7.
Medunjanin "came within days of executing a plot to conduct coordinated s in the New York City subway system in September 2009, as directed by senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistain," the Justice Department said.
"Justice was served today ... as a jury of New Yorkers convicted an al-Qaeda operative bent on terrorism, mass murder and destruction in the New York City subways," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch.
"Adis Medunjanin's journey of radicalization led him from Flushing, Queens, to , Pakistain, to the brink of a terrorist attack in New York City -- and soon to a lifetime in federal prison.
"As this case has proved, working against sophisticated terrorist organizations and against the clock, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies can detect, disrupt and destroy terrorist cells before they strike, saving countless innocent lives," she stressed.
The Bosnia-born Medunjanin, whose family to the United States during the war with Serbia in the 1990s, was also convicted of conspiring to commit murder of U.S. military personnel abroad; taking military training from al-Qaeda; conspiring and attempting to commit terror across national boundaries, and using arms in relation to these offenses, the statement said.
The other two men in the alleged plot, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, have already pleaded guilty and testified against their old friend in hopes that cooperation with prosecutors would earn them lighter sentences.
The three friends were in many ways typical New Yorkers, striving to live the immigrant dream.
Medunjanin was a doorman, Ahmedzay drove a yellow cab, and Zazi was a coffee cart vendor before moving to Colorado, where he drove an airport shuttle bus in Denver.
When the subway bomb plot was foiled, Medunjanin crashed his car into another on the Whitestone Expressway, attempting to "turn his car into a weapon of terror," the Justice Department said.
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|British shoe-bomb suspect testifies at NYC trial|
|[Dawn] In a videotaped deposition made public for the first time Thursday, a British man convicted in an aborted shoe-bombing mission admitted meeting with after deciding to fight jihad against the West.|
US prosecutors and defense attorneys interviewed Saajid Badat just outside London late last month in preparation for the New York trial of Adis Medunjanin, accused in the 2009 plot to attack New York's subways with suicide bombs.
Badat said that he refused a request to testify in person because he remains under indictment in Boston on charges alleging he conspired with shoe-bomber Richard Reid.
"If I go to the United States, I'll be ," Badat said on the tape played for a jury on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn.
British authorities had revealed earlier this week that Badat would have a role in the Medunjanin prosecution, calling him the first person convicted in the United Kingdom on terrorism charges to agree to give evidence at the trial of alleged terrorists.
Badat, 33, pleaded guilty in to plotting with Reid to bring down separate American trans-Atlantic flights using bombs hidden in their shoes.
Unlike Reid, he backed out at the last minute.
"I agreed to take an explosive on an aircraft and explode it," he said in the video, looking clean-cut and wearing a suit.
He also testified that he had "direct interaction" with bin Laden "more than once" after traveling to Afghanistan in 1999.
At the time, he knew the terror network as "The Sheik's Group," with "sheik" referring to bin Laden.
Medunjanin is accused of traveling to Pakistain with two friends from his Queens high school in 2008 and receiving terror training from al-Qaeda
Prosecutors allege the men, including acknowledged Najibullah Zazi, agreed to seek martyrdom by dying as s in an attack on Manhattan subway lines at rush hour.
Medunjanin, 27, a Bosnian-born naturalized US citizen, has to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, providing material support to a terrorist organization and other charges.
He has denied he was ever part of an al-Qaeda operation.
Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay pleaded guilty to the plot in 2010 and were without bail after agreeing to become government witnesses in a bid for leniency.
Both testified against Medunjanin earlier this week.
Badat had no involvement with the men.
Prosecutors instead want to use his testimony to corroborate what Zazi and Ahmedzay have said about al-Qaeda's leadership and training methods.
The British-born son of Malawi immigrants, Badat was 21 when he traveled to both Afghanistan and Pakistain.
While in Afghanistan, he was given an designed to evade airport security and destroy an aircraft in flight, authorities said.
Badat returned to with the device on Dec 10, 2001.
He ended up stashing the bomb under a bed in his family home in Gloucester, England, and resumed his academic studies.
He later told authorities he backed out because he was hoping "to introduce calm into his life."
British intelligence tracked down Badat two years later and after matched cords on Reid's device to those on Badat's bomb.
Badat was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
But British authorities announced this week that in 2009 a judge secretly reduced his sentence to 11 years to reward him for his cooperation in terror investigations.
The Brooklyn jury only heard about the first 10 minutes of the videotape, which lasts more than two hours.
The rest will be played when the trial resumes on Monday.
Reid attempted to bring down a plane in December 2001 and is serving a life sentence in a high-security US prison.
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|NYC Trial Details Terror Planning|
|Defendant Who Pleaded Guilty Describes al Qaeda Training, Subway Bomb Plot|
The characterization came during opening statements in a trial in Brooklyn federal court which one of the men, Adis Medunjanin, is accused of receiving training by the terrorist organization while in Pakistain and returning to the U.S. with orders to launch a devastating attack.
Mr. Medunjanin has to counts including conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to commit an act of terrorism, conspiring to commit murder abroad and conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
He is the only one of the suspects who didn't plead guilty. His
The trial is notable in that unlike many other terrorism cases, the defendants weren't caught as a part of a federal sting. Instead, the prosecutors said Monday, the attack was fully operational rather than aspirational.
"These men came so close, within days of carrying out this attack," said James Loonam, assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District.
His attorney, Robert Gottlieb, said his client was seeking to support the Taliban fighting the U.S. in Afghanistan
"The truth is that Adis Medunjanin is not a terrorist," Mr. Gottlieb said. "In this case, the government is just wrong."
Testimony on Monday began with Mr. Ahmedzay detailing his friendship with Messrs. Medunjanin and Zazi. The three had attended high school together in the New York borough of Queens, and in 2008 they "made a covenant to go to Afghanistan and fight with the mujahedeen against American forces," he said.
Mr Ahmedzay said the three were told they would be more valuable as s in the U.S. and were given training in use of weapons, Mr. Ahmedzay said. Their handlers encouraged them to identify targets in the U.S. and execute a "mission" during the presidency of George W. Bush, he told the court.
He said the men accepted the mission and began planning it.
The original plan called for a car-bomb targeting major New York landmarks such as Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and the New York Stock Exchange, the witness said. But when Mr. Zazi said he couldn't build a big enough bomb because he had lost a page of his notes,
The attack was abandoned when Mr. Zazi realized he was being watched by federal and local authorities while on a car trip to New York.
Mr. Ahmedzay said he lied repeatedly to the FBI during the investigation and destroyed evidence.
"You would be willing to kill, to set off a bomb, but you wouldn't lie to a jury?" he asked the witness.
Noting that Mr. Ahmedzay faces a range of no prison time to life, Mr. Gottlieb asked Mr. Ahmedzay how much time he hopes to serve in exchange for his testimony.
"I hope to get that zero years you mentioned, sir," the witness replied.
Mr. Zazi, who was described by authorities as the leader of the cell at the time of his arrest, was expected to testify Tuesday..
Ahmedzay testified they discussed potential targets with their al-Qaida handlers in Pakistan, including Times Square, the New York Stock Exchange, Grand Central Station and Pennsylvania Station, but did not settle on a definite one. The goal, he said, was to strike a crowded subway station during rush hour, to maximize civilian casualties.
Medunjanin's lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said Medunjanin never intended to hurt anyone when he crashed his car into another vehicle on a New York City bridge just after calling a police emergency line to say that he "loved death more than you love your life."
Prosecutors termed that a jihadist slogan, but Gottlieb told the jury that Medunjanin meant only to kill himself, rather than be falsely branded as a Muslim terrorist.
According to Zazi and Ahmedzay, who also pleaded guilty, the trio became close friends after high school, bonding over their dedication to Islam - and to the Internet lectures of radical Imams. As they grew angry at the American presence in Afghanistan, they decided to go there to fight to the death - toperform jihad, as Zazi testified.
Zazi, who operated a food cart in New York, said he used more than 10 different credit cards to buy cameras, computers, jewelry and airline tickets to Pakistan in 2008.
The prosecution plans also to put on the stand two other confessed terrorists, including Saajid Muhammad Badat, a Briton convicted of plotting to use a shoe bomb to blow up an airliner.
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|NY Trial Details Terror Planning|
NYC subway plotter: Bombmaking 'very simple'
NEW YORK (AP) -- The admitted mastermind of one of the most serious terror threats since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- a foiled plot to attack New York City subways -- testified Wednesday that al-Qaida trainers taught him a "very simple" formula for making suicide bombs.
After being recruited by the terror network and taken to a compound in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan, Najibullah Zazi said he learned how to mix chemicals found in nail polish remover and other products sold at beauty supply stores.
"It was very simple and they're everywhere," he said of the chemicals.
Zazi, 26, was testifying for a second day at the trial of Adis Medunjanin in federal court in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors allege that Medunjanin, Zazi and another former high school classmate from Queens, Zarein Ahmedzay, formed a terror cell that posed one of the most ominous terror threats since 9/11.
Trial Details Terror Planning
NEW YORK--Three former high-school classmates were perilously close to implementing an al Qaeda-inspired plan to detonate suicide bombs in New York City's subways before they were thwarted in 2009, federal prosecutors told a packed courtroom Monday.
The characterization came during opening statements in a trial in Brooklyn federal court which one of the men, Adis Medunjanin, is accused of receiving training by the terrorist organization while in Pakistan and returning to the U.S. with orders to launch a devastating attack.
New York Bombing Plot 'Mastermind' Testifies Against Friend
A Bosnian-born immigrant in New York accused on nine terrorism counts heard a second friend testify that he was a willing participant in a suicide bombing plot in New York City.
According to Najibullah Zazi, the confessed mastermind of the foiled 2009 subway bomb plot, accused terrorist Adis Medunjanin "was a role model to us," because he was most knowledgeable in Islam. Zazi, who earlier pleaded guilty, is one of two former friends testifying in the federal trial of Medunjanin, 27.
Trial Opens for Alleged New York Bomb Plotter
A Bosnian immigrant accused in a subway bombing terrorism plot has gone on trial in federal court in New York City. He faces life in prison if convicted on all nine counts, including conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. A federal jury in Brooklyn is hearing the terrorism case against 27-year-old Bosnian-born Adis Medunjanin, who allegedly conspired with two former high school friends to bomb New York subways in 2009.