This article from the Army Times reminds us the threat of homegrown terrorists is all too real.
3 convicted of plot to kill soldiers in Iraq
CLEVELAND — Three men of Middle Eastern descent were convicted Friday of plotting to recruit and train terrorists to kill American soldiers in Iraq, a case put together with help from a former soldier who posed as a radical bent on violence.
Mohammad Amawi, 28, Marwan El-Hindi, 45, and Wassim Mazloum, 27, face maximum sentences of life in prison. Prosecutors said the men were learning to shoot guns and make explosives while raising money to fund their plans to wage a holy war against U.S. troops.
Amawi and El-Hindi are U.S. citizens, and Mazloum came to the U.S. legally from Lebanon. El-Hindi was born in Jordan; Amawi was born in the U.S. but also has Jordanian citizenship.
The federal jury in Toledo returned its verdict after three days of deliberations. U.S. District Judge James G. Carr did not set a sentencing date, acting U.S. attorney Bill Edwards said.
“Today’s verdicts should send a strong message to individuals who would use this country as a platform to plot attacks against U.S. military personnel in Iraq and elsewhere,” said Patrick Rowan, acting assistant attorney general for national security, in a written statement.
Messages seeking comment from defense attorneys were not immediately returned. At trial they claimed that the three defendants, who all lived in the Toledo area, were manipulated by the government’s star witness, Darren Griffin.
The undercover FBI informant and former Special Forces soldier recorded the men for about two years beginning in 2004 while they talked about training in explosives, guns, and sniper tactics. They often met in their homes and at a tiny storefront mosque where they prayed together.
Defense attorneys noted that Griffin was involved in all conversations the prosecution presented to the jury, and that there was no evidence of telephone conversations or e-mails dealing with the alleged plot among only the defendants.
Griffin won the trust of the men by posing as a former soldier who grew disenchanted with U.S. foreign policy who was now intent on violence against America.
Griffin said most people at the mosque shunned him and that no one raised any threats until El-Hindi began talking about kidnapping Israeli soldiers. Amawi, Griffin said, asked him to help him train two recruits from Chicago for holy war.
Griffin testified that he twice traveled to Jordan with Amawi and also taught Amawi and Mazloum how to shoot guns.
Nice to see the Feds do their job the right way against the terrorists. Takes a few of these animals off the street, but it isn’t much of a deterrent to whackjob muslims who WANT to die and go to paradise and bang their 72 virgins.