How In The World Did These Iraqi Terrorists Get Visas To Come To America, For Christ Sake?
2 Iraqis indicted on terrorism charges in Kentucky
Two Iraqis living in Bowling Green have been arrested and charged with conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers with improvised explosive devices in Iraq.
The pair also is accused of plotting to send Stinger missiles, cash, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Iraq.
They allegedly picked up the weapons, including machine guns, from a storage facility in Kentucky, believing that it would all be sent to insurgents supported by al-Qaeda.
In fact, it was all part of an elaborate sting set-up by a confidential informant, and none of the weapons ever had any chance of being shipped abroad.
Waad Ramadan Always, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, both former residents of Iraq who lived in Bowling Green, were charged in a 23-count indictment unsealed Tuesday for which they could be sentenced to life in prison.
They made their initial appearance Tuesday in a federal court in Louisville, where they both pleaded not guilty and were ordered detained.
Neither is charged with plotting attacks within the United States.
The arrests were jointly announced by the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office, the Louisville Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Justice Department’s national security division.
U.S. Attorney David Hale said the indictment should send a message to terrorists.
“Whether they seek shelter in a major metropolitan order or in a smaller city in Kentucky, those who would attempt to harm or kill Americans abroad will face a determined and prepared law enforcement effort,” Hale said.
According to court records, the FBI began investigating Alwan in September 2009, a few months after he entered the United States.
The records indicate that a confidential source for the FBI secretly tape recorded him as he bragged about used IEDs hundreds of times against Americans in Iraq from 2003 until he was arrested by local authorities in 2006.
He also allegedly told the informant that he was very good with a sniper rifle, saying that his “lunch and dinner would be an American.”
Asked whether he’d achieved results from the various devices in Iraq, Alwan allegedly told the informant, “Oh, yes,” adding that his attacks had “f--- up” Hummers and Bradley fighting vehicles, according to court records.
FBI Special Agent Richard Green said in an affidavit that investigators discovered Alwan’s claims about his use of explosive devices were not idle boasts: The FBI identified two of Alwan’s fingerprints on an unexploded bomb recovered by U.S. forces near Bayji, Iraq.
Alwan also allegedly told the confidential source that he liked to use a particular brand of cordless telephone in constructing his IEDs, and his prints allegedly were found on a phone of the same brand, according to Green’s affidavit.
At the informant’s request, Alwan also drew diagrams of four types of IEDs that the FBI later determined would have produced workable devices.
The indictment says Alwan recruited Hammadi to help export weapons and cash to Iraqi insurgents, and that Hammadi also claimed to have experience deploying IEDs.
In one conversation with the informant, Hammadi allegedly said he had been captured by authorities after the car in which he was driving got a flat tire shortly after he and others placed an IED on the ground.
The criminal complaint filed in Kentucky against Alwan said that in November 2010 he allegedly picked up machine guns and other weapons from a storage facility and delivered them to a designated location, believing they would be shipped to Iraq.
He and Hammadi in January and February also allegedly delivered cash and additional weapons to a tractor trailer, believing it would also be shipped by the informant to Iraq. But the truck was owned by the FBI, and the weapons all remained in control of law enforcement, a news release said.
Alwan is charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals abroad; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals abroad; distributing information on the manufacture and use of IEDs; attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al-Qaeda in Iraq, as well as conspiracy to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles.
Hammadi is charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al-Qaeda in Iraq, as well as to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles.
Alwan told the informant that he had come to the United States so he could get a passport to back to “Turkey, Saudi or wherever I want to.”
“I didn’t come here for America,” he said, according to the criminal complaint.
Hale stressed that the charges are not an indictment of any “particular religious community or religion,”
Elizabeth Fries, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Louisville, said the agency would “vigorously pursue anyone who targets Muslims or their places of worship for backlash-related threats or violence in the wake of these arrests.”