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Tag: Al-Shabaab

Ex-Virginia Cab Driver Captured After Being Placed on ‘Most Wanted Terrorist’ List

Liban Haji Mohamed

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Less than two months after the FBI added a Washington-area cabbie to the bureau’s “Most Wanted Terrorist ” list, the Somali-born U.S. citizen was arrested and taken into custody of the Somali government, Reuters reports.

Liban Haji Mohamed, 29, was added to the list for allegedly providing support to the Somali-based terrorists al Shabaab.

The Somali government arrested Shabaab several days ago, but whether the country sends him back to the U.S. is still anyone’s guess.

Mohamed left the U.S. in 2012 after living in the northern Virginia suburbs near Washington.

FBI Downplays Terror Group’s Calls for Attacks on Malls in U.S

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security are downplaying a threat by a Somali-based terror group to attack shopping malls in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom, CNN reports.

U.S. officials said there are no credible threats of an attack, but still cautioned shoppers to be careful.

“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today,”  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “they’ve got to be particularly careful.”

The Minnesota mall was alluded to in a video by Al-Shabaab, which called for the attacks.

Mall of America said it is on the look out.

“We take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately,” the Minnesota mall said in a statement. “We have implemented extra security precautions; some may be noticeable to guests, and others won’t be.”

 

 

Ex-D.C. Cab Driver Lands on FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Washington D.C. cab driver accused of providing material support to a group linked to al Qaeda has landed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, CNN reports.

A $50,000 reward has been offered for the capture of the 29-year-old Somali-born U.S. citizen, Liban Haji Mohamed.

The FBI said Mohamed provided material support to Al Shabaab, which has launched numerous deadly terrorist attacks.

Investigators believe Mohamed left the U.S in the summer of 2012.

“Not only did he choose to go to Somalia and fight with Al Shabaab, he took a prominent role in trying to recruit people to fight for Al Shabaab,” said Carl Ghatas, special agent in charge of the counterterrorism division at the FBI’s Washington field office.

FBI Investigating Whether Somali Terror Group Is Successfully Recruiting Americans

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A year-long investigation into a Somali terror group’s efforts to recruit Americans may be gathering steam in Minnesota, the Associated Press reports.

The FBI has been focusing on Minnesota because it’s home to the largest Somali population in the U.S., according to the AP.

Fueling fears that al-Shabab is succeeding in its efforts was the recent revelation that a Minnesota man traveled to Somalia to join the terrorist group, his family said.

The AP noted that the FBI has been interviewing and subpoenaing Somalis in the state, a potential sign that the investigation is gaining traction.

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Continues to Bang the Drum About the Dangers of Terrorists and the Cyber World

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo By Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
There’s was nothing particularly shocking — or for that matter new — in FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III’s speech Thursday, but it was another reminder of the havoc and mischief we can expect via cyber attacks against business and government in the future.

Terrorism remains the FBI’s top priority,” Mueller told a crowd in San Francisco at the RSA Cyber Security Conference, according to the text of his speech. “But in the not too distant future, we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the number one threat to our country.”

Mueller talked about how increasingly “cyber savvy” terrorist have become, citing as example, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has produced a full-color, English-language online magazine.

“They are not only sharing ideas, they are soliciting information and inviting recruits to join al Qaeda. ”

“Al Shabaab—the al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia—has its own Twitter account. Al Shabaab uses it to taunt its enemies—in English—and to encourage terrorist activity, ” he said. “Extremists are not merely making use of the Internet for propaganda and recruitment. They are also using cyber space to conduct operations.”

“The individuals who planned the attempted Times Square bombing in May 2010 used public web cameras for reconnaissance. They used file-sharing sites to share sensitive operational details. They deployed remote conferencing software to communicate. They used a proxy server to avoid being tracked by an IP address. And they claimed responsibility for the attempted attack—on YouTube.”

To read the complete speech click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

US Soldier Ditches the Army, Tried to Join Terror Group in Somalia

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A former Army soldier was charged Monday in federal court in Greenbelt, Md., with  attempting to provide material support to al Shabaab, the terrorist organization, the FBI said in a statement.

Craig Benedict Baxam, 24, of Laurel, Maryland, was arrested on Friday, January 6, when he returned to his home state from a visit to Africa, the FBI statement says.

A criminal complaint alleges Baxam “intended to travel to Somalia and join the terrorist organization al Shabaab,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said. “Mr. Baxam was caught in Kenya before he reached Somalia, and there is no allegation that anyone assisted him.”

According to the FBI, Baxam joined the US Army in 2001, where he completed training in cryptology and intelligence before being deployed to Baghdad. Afterwards, he reenlisted. He deployed for a one-year assignment in Korea in August of 2010. But a month before finishing his stint in Korea, Baxam left the Army and returned home to Maryland in July 2011.

The affidavit that came with the criminal complaint claims Baxam had converted to Islam just before leaving the Army, intending to move to Somalia and live under Sharia law and join al Shabaab–a group designated by the US Department of State as a foreign terrorist organization in February of 2008.

Baxam cashed in his approximately $3,600 in savings and hopped a flight to Kenya,  and planned to travel with $600 or $700 to by road to Somalia. He planned to give the remaining money to the terrorist group as an offering. He was stopped by Kenyan police near Mombasa, Kenya on December 23, 2011, where he was detained and interviewed by the FBI.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

Minn. Women Convicted of Material Support for Terrorists

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

It wasn’t the Avon lady. It wasn’t even two generous ladies seeking donations for the poor and needy of Somalia they claimed to be.

Amina Farah Ali, 35, and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, 64, two naturalized U.S. citizens from Somalia living in Rochester, Minn.,  were convicted  Thursday in federal court in Minneapolis of providing material support to Somali terrorist groups, according to a U.S.  Attorney press release out of Minnesota.

Ali, Hassan and others raised money for the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab by soliciting donations door-to-door in Somali neighborhoods of Minnesota and other North American cities for the poor and needy of their homeland.

In the trial, authorities said the evidence showed that Ali had been in telephone communications with al-Shabaab members, who had requested financial assistance from her from Sept. 17, 2008 to July 19, 2010. They then used various money remittance companies to transfer the money to al-Shabaab with false names identifying recipients.

“On July 14, 2009, the day after the FBI executed a search warrant at her home, Ali telephoned her primary al-Shabaab contact, saying, ‘I was questioned by the enemy here . . . . they took all my stuff and are investigating it . . . do not accept calls from anyone.,’” according to the press release.

The two face a maximum 15 year sentence for conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Hassan faces eight years for making false statements to agents when questioned about her support.

FBI’s John Perren Talks Terrorism, the Internet and the Endless Battle

ticklethewire.com photo

WASHINGTON – Earlier this month, on the 5th floor of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, in the shadow the nation’s Capitol, John G. Perren, special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Branch, talked to ticklethewire.com editor Allan Lengel about lessons learned since Sept. 11, about the challenges the Internet has posed for terrorism investigations and the dedication he expects from his agents who work the endless leads and reports of suspicious activities that flow into the office.

He also expressed concerns about the potential links between terrorists and drug and human traffickers in Mexico.

“What concerns me is the infrastructure that’s already in place at the Mexican border. You have human traffic lanes already established. You have tunnels for transporting drugs. What’s to say they can’t be contacted by some terrorist organization who wants to use those human trafficking lanes to bring in operatives, to bring in people under the radar?”

Perren is no stranger to counterterrorism. He was supervisor of  the Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and then assistant special agent in charge. In 2005, he  spent a half year in Iraq as the FBI’s on-scene commander before returning home to headquarters to become section chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction/Domestic Terrorism Operations Section. In 2007, the former D.C. cop was named special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Branch at the Washington Field Office. He has twice filled in as acting head of the field office. In 2011, he will become Deputy Assistant Director of the Criminal Division at headquarters.

The following is a condensed version of the conversation. The questions have been edited for clarity.

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