Saturday, February 21, 2009

Al Qaeda Militants in Orange County, California

I first saw this story last night at Jawa Report, and it's creepy.

Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, who is the brother-in-law of Amin al-Haqan, an Afghan al-Qaeda operative and bodyguard to Osama bin Laden, has been arrested by federal officials in Tustin, California, on immigration-related charges. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Tustin man of Afghan origin, who failed to mention in his application for U.S. citizenship that his brother-in-law is designated as an Al Qaeda terrorist, appeared in federal court Friday to answer charges that could send him to prison for 35 years.

Ahmadullah Sais Niazi's detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana was postponed until Tuesday, but the 34-year-old defendant used the occasion to accuse federal agents of trying to force him to become an informant ....

Federal agents descended Friday at dawn on the tract home in Tustin where Niazi has lived for at least eight years with his wife and three young children. He submitted quietly to the arrest, and stunned neighbors watched for three hours as agents, some in body armor, searched the single-story house for evidence that Niazi lied to government officials about his background and foreign travel.

A five-count grand jury indictment, handed up a week ago and kept under seal until Friday, charged Niazi with two counts of perjury and one count each of naturalization fraud, misuse of a passport obtained by fraud and making a false statement to a federal agency.

Niazi, who has lived in the United States since 1998 and earned citizenship five years ago, is related by marriage to Amin al-Haq, an Afghan militant who fought the Soviet occupation of the 1980s with a U.S.-backed Islamic resistance force that now is branded an Al Qaeda affiliate.

Al-Haq is married to Niazi's sister, Hafiza, and is said to be Osama bin Laden's security coordinator. The 49-year-old Afghan was identified by the United Nations Security Council as an Al Qaeda operative in March 2001 and listed as a "specially designated global terrorist" by the U.S. government a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Al-Haq's name came up during the terrorism trial of Bin Laden's driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, last year. There have been recent unconfirmed reports that Al-Haq has been detained by Pakistani security forces.

Niazi said he and other family members were upset by his sister's marriage because of Al-Haq's "past activities," an FBI agent who interviewed Niazi almost a year ago reported in a search warrant request that a federal magistrate approved Thursday.
This is unreal. According to the mapped location of Niazi's home, my son's orthodontist's office is basically across the street.

Read the whole thing, in any case.
The Times' piece suggests that federal officials may have arrested Niazi after he refused to cooperate with the government as an informant. Niazi and his wife, Jamilah Romlas Amin, who is also a U.S. citizen, have wired $48,000 in remittances to relatives in Pakistan and Afghanistan over the last 8 years, and their close family members are suspected of transferring $364,000 to relatives overseas through a Cambodian bank.

Jawa Report has the posted a copy of the full federal indictment.


Greywolfe said...

It's not the first or last case of domestic terror funding that they have or will find.

At least he didn't blow anything up, just sent money back to buy vests for his kin.

AmPowerBlog said...

Money to buy vests for his kin? Greywolfe? Are you helping these folks?

Greywolfe said...

Bomb vests.....and yes, I'm helping them. I put the too-short fuses in so they blow up before they get to their targets. april fools on them!

If my sarcasm is lacking it's because I've been up for 27 hrs. I'll sleep soon and try again.