A potentially explosive admission by federal prosecutors in the pending sentencing of Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane in a San Antonio federal courtroom could aid the case of border states looking to take the initiative to stem the flood of illegal immigrants coming into the U.S.
In this court filing, provided exclusively here at Pajamas Media, prosecutors admit that Dhakane, who ran a human smuggling ring based in Brazil for the Somali Al-Shabaab terrorist group, transported “violent jihadists” into the country. He stated that “he believed they would fight against the U.S. if the jihad moved from overseas locations to the U.S. mainland.” (p. 7)
The contents and implications of this admission by DOJ will be one of the items discussed when my colleagues Army Lt. Col Joseph Myers (ret.), Mark Hanna, and I will be testifying Wednesday before the Arizona House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee on the topic of “Cross-border Terror Threats and Islamic Radicalization in Arizona.”
Dhakane was charged in March 2010 with lying about his terror ties when he applied for asylum in 2008, specifically omitting information that he had worked for two specially designated global terrorist entities (SDGT). He pleaded guilty earlier this year to lying to the FBI and awaits sentencing next month. Rather than trying him on terror charges, federal prosecutors are asking for terror enhancements on the sentence for lying to the FBI.
In the DOJ sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors explain that Dhakane knowingly smuggled violent jihadists into the country:
More importantly, based on the Defendant’s recorded statements and admissions made to law enforcement agents, the Defendant was a former member, or at the very least, associated with [Al-Ittihad al-Islami] AIAI, an SDGT, and that he believed that there was no separation of personnel between AIAI, the Council of Islamic Courts, and Al-Shabbab, a designated [Foreign Terrorist Organization] FTO.
He admits that he knowingly believed he was smuggling violent jihadists into the United States with the full knowledge that if the decision was made by the SDGT, for which he was associated with in the past, to commit terrorist acts in the United States, these jihadists would commit violent acts in and against the United States. Because the law enforcement authorities are constantly trying to investigate, detect, and prevent the infiltration of potentially violent jihadists, the Defendant’s lies hid critical information from the United States authorities regarding his successful smuggling activities. Thus, the preponderance of the evidence proves that the other obvious motivation for him to lie on his asylum application was to cover up and obstruct the fact from United States authorities that he facilitated the smuggling of violent jihadists who are now present into the United States. (pp. 10-11)
This is far from the first time that Islamic terrorists are known to have attempted to enter the U.S, or actually succeeded. Just last year Homeland Security authorities put out an alert concerning a group of terror-tied Somalis who were attempting to enter the country through Mexico. Then last May another terror alert was issued for a known Al-Shabaab official, Mohamed Ali, who was suspected of trying to cross the border from Mexico. And in February 2010, a Virginia convert to Islam who was in contact with Al-Shabaab officials, Anthony Joseph Tracy, was charged for his role in an international smuggling ring that brought at least 200 Somalis into the U.S. on Cuban travel documents.
Other terrorist operatives are known to have successfully crossed the border:
- In February 2001, Mahmoud Kourani crossed the border from Tijuana in the trunk of a car, eventually settling in Dearborn, Michigan. Kourani, who federal prosecutors claimed had received training in weapons, intelligence, and spy craft in Iran, bribed a Mexican embassy official in Beirut to obtain a visa. Kourani’s brother is known to be Hezbollah’s security chief in southern Lebanon.
- In December 2002, Salim Boughader was arrested for smuggling 200 Lebanese, including Hezbollah operatives, across the border. Boughader had previously worked for Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV satellite network.
- In July 2004, Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed was arrested at a Texas airport boarding a flight to New York. According to the Washington Post, she was connected to a Pakistani terrorist group. Believed to be ferrying instructions to U.S.-based al-Qaeda operatives, authorities issued a terror alert for Washington D.C., New York, and New Jersey.
- In January 2005, two Hamas operatives, Mahmoud Khalil and Ziad Saleh, were arrested as part of a criminal enterprise in Los Angeles. Both had entered the U.S. after paying a smuggler $10,000 each to take them across the border.
- Rep. John Culberson said in November 2005 that an Iraqi al-Qaeda operative on the terror watch list was captured living near the Mexico-Texas border.
During our testimony before the Arizona legislature on Wednesday, Lt. Col. Myers will be discussing the nexus between the South American drug cartels and Islamic terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda. With cartel violence already spilling across the border, and U.S. Border Patrol agents armed with beanbags being gunned down in the field by smuggling operatives, when might we see terrorist groups attempting to open up a new front against the U.S. across the vast stretches of our unguarded border?
Today we will be discussing what states might be able to do to confront this problem in the absence of federal attention to the border and exactly who might be on our side of the border ready to help terrorist groups. As DOJ has admitted in the Dhakane case, terrorist operatives are already inside the U.S. and are prepared to go operational at the command of their leadership. If the issue of homegrown terrorism is already keeping Attorney General Eric Holder awake at night, why aren’t similar concerns being translated into action to defend Americans from cross-border terror threats?