Saturday, January 21, 2006

Jawa Report Tip Leads to Conviction

Little Green Footballs tipped us off to this interesting story of bloggers catching a would-be terrorist in the midwest, thanks to a lead from The Jawa Report.
It turns out that "Ahmed" was really Jordanian born Mohammed Radwan Obeid. Obeid had fraudulently immigrated to the United States by marrying an American woman, and then having the marriage annuled. Obeid was working as a cashier in Dayton, Ohio last year and living with his girlfriend in a nearby town. It was from the Troy branch of the Miami (Ohio) County public library that he began to seek out fellow jihadis.

Obeid's posts at jihadi forums was noticed by more than those anti-terrorist crusaders who monitor them. Obeid's posts about nuclear weapons and gun silencers was somehow noticed by reference librarian Laura Girolamo. Ms. Girolamo contacted the FBI who, using their newly found powers under the Patriot Act, were able to confirm the librarians suspicions.

At about the same time, a Jawa Report reader from Virginia, David Vazquez, began e-mailing Obeid. Obeid was under the false impression that Vazquez was a fellow jihad supporter. Obeid, he says, was now trying to recruit him for a terrorist cause.

Obeid told David Vazquez in e-mails that "we are starting a big operation that will make 9/11 nothing but a little bit of headache."

According to Vazquez, "I was very alarmed at the words (Obeid) was saying." He contacted the FBI.

Armed with the knowlege provided them by their ability under the Patriot Act to monitor public library computers, and by David Vazquez's saved e-mail conversations, the FBI picked up Obeid on March 28th for 'immigration violations'.

When asked about whether or not the e-mails were his, Obeid denied that they were. Since he was asked under oath, Obeid's denials amounted to knowingly and willfully making a false material representation.

A Federal immigration judge ordered Obeid's deportation in September. Obeid was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in October. He pleaded guilty to the felony charge of lying to Federal investigators.