NEW YORK CITY, New York — In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Minnesota during the weekend, the focus of the national debate has again shifted back to America’s enemies exploiting weaknesses in U.S. immigration screening processes to get into the country to attack the United States.
While President Barack Obama’s administration, and his would-be successor, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, have promised to increase the amount of people they bring into the United States through immigration, refugee, and asylum programs, the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has promised to put the brakes on allowing potential terrorists into the United States.
Below is a by-no-means comprehensive list of at least ten times in the last couple years—there are certainly many more instances—that terrorists have exploited the Obama-Clinton immigration weaknesses to get into the United States. This is the first in a series of stories that will examine specific examples on this front.
1.) Eritrean Plans Terror in Ohio
Twenty-one-year-old Munir Abdulkader of West Chester, Ohio, pleads guilty, according to the Department of Justice, “to attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States, providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.”
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Abdulkader is a “native of Eritrea in east Africa,” who “became a citizen of the United States in September 2006.”
He hit law enforcement’s radar while a student at Xavier University in Cincinnati when he was posting messages on Twitter that the Columbus Dispatch said were “seen as sympathetic to Islamic State fighters.”
“On a Twitter account that began in July 2014 and continued into 2015, Abdulkader posted an IS training video, lamented that his cousin had died fighting for IS and expressed his desire to travel and join the terrorist insurgency,” James Steinbauer wrote in the Columbus Dispatch in July. He added:
Abdulkader also stated his wish to attain martyrdom. From March to mid-April 2015, Abdulkader began speaking with a confidential source about his intentions to travel to Syria and fight for the insurgency. He secured a passport, saved money for the trip and began making travel plans, but postponed the trip until May 2015 because of increased arrests of individuals traveling to join IS. During May 2015, Abdulkader communicated with one or more people overseas who were tied to IS. One, a member of IS identified as Junaid Hussein, encouraged Abdulkader to commit terrorist attacks in the United States before going to Syria. IS has advocated for lone-wolf jihadis and extremists to conduct attacks in their home countries.
In his communications with Hussein, the Islamic State recruiter encouraged the Eritrean immigrant—according to the Justice Department—“to plan and execute a violent attack within the United States.”
“Abdulkader communicated with Hussein and the CHS [confidential human source] about a plan to kill an identified military employee on account of his position with the U.S. government,” the Justice Department said in a press release. “The plan included abducting the employee at the employee’s home and filming the execution. After killing the employee, Abdulkader planned to perpetrate a violent attack on a police station in the Southern District of Ohio using firearms and Molotov cocktails.”
None of this would have been possible if the United States government had not let this Eritrean man into the United States in the first place.
2.) Virginia Man? Not Quite.
Also back in July, The Washington Post’s Rachel Weiner and Joe Helm detailed the story of Mohamed Bailor Jalloh—an immigrant from Sierra Leone—who was caught plotting a terrorist attack in support of the Islamic State in Virginia.
“When Mohamed Bailor Jalloh walked into the Blue Ridge Arsenal gun store and indoor target range in Chantilly, Va., on Friday to purchase a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, he had no idea that his every move was being monitored by the FBI,” Weiner and Helm wrote on July 5. “Jalloh, 26, spent about 10 minutes in the shop before attempting to buy the assault weapon, but he was told that he did not have the required three forms of identification to make the purchase, said Earl Curtis, the store’s owner. Jalloh told employees that he would return.”
Jalloh had apparently been a former member of the Virginia National Guard—and that was how The Washington Post’s headline identified him. What the leading newspaper did not say until 16 paragraphs into the article is that Jalloh is not from the United States.
“Jalloh, a native of Sierra Leone, is a U.S. citizen,” the Post wrote.
That’s all the nation’s capitol’s major newspaper said in that story about his immigration history.
According to Justice Department documents, Jalloh was born in Sierra Leone—a West African nation that is predominantly Muslim—and actually after becoming naturalized later as a U.S. citizen traveled back to Sierra Leone in 2015. In addition to disclosing that he listened to lectures from Anwar Al-Awlaki, Jalloh—according to court records available of the Department of Justice’s website—told a confidential human source for federal law enforcement he is “originally from Sierra Leone and has been a Muslim his entire life.” During his trip back to his home nation of Sierra Leone, federal authorities—according to the court records—believed he had contact with representatives for the Islamic State. He was gone for months.
“A review of U.S. Customs and Border Protection travel records indicated JALLOH departed the United States on or about June 11, 2015 via John F. Kennedy International Airport with a final destination of Sierra Leone,” the court document, filed by an FBI agent, says, continuing:
On or about January 16, 2016, JALLOH returned to the United States from Sierra Leone via John F. Kennedy International Airport. Based on the length of time JALLOH was overseas for this trip and the comments made by JALLOH to CHS1 [confidential human source number one] on or about April 9, 2016, I believe it was during this overseas trip that JALLOH met ISIL members in Nigeria and first established contact with UCCl [un-indicted co-conspirator number one].
But it all started, of course, when the U.S. government decided to let this guy into the United States in the first place.
3.) Kenyan Somali ‘Refugee’ — Or Minnesota Man? — Convicted on Terrorism Charges
Guled Ali Omar, a Somalian born in a refugee camp in Kenya but later admitted into the United States as a refugee and subsequently granted citizenship by the U.S. government, was one of three “Minnesota Men” convicted in June of conspiring to join the Islamic State and “commit murder in Syria.”
“Guled Ali Omar, Abdurahman Yasin Daud and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah were convicted by a federal jury today of conspiring to commit murder in Syria on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization,” the Justice Department announced on June 3. “Omar was also convicted of one count of attempted financial aid fraud, and Farah was also convicted of one count of perjury and providing a false statement.”
Omar’s case is particularly interesting. His family, in the wake of his conviction, was given fawning coverage by local Minnesota media. In a large profile in the Minneapolis StarTribune, his mother Fadumo Hussein was described as “heartbroken” and portrayed as having her “home” being “shadowed” by “the question of terrorism” for years.
The local newspaper paints the FBI agents who raided their home as jackbooted thugs who disrupted their life.
“On Sunday morning, that question once again stormed into her life, when FBI agents crashed through the door of her south Minneapolis house in search of her youngest son, Guled Omar,” Paul McEnroe wrote in the Star Tribune on April 21, 2015, adding:
Rousting her from sleep, the agents had surrounded the house about 9 a.m. and then stormed in to arrest her 20-year-old son. The young man, who works as a security guard for Target and attends community college part-time, is now charged with leading a secret life centered on plotting with five friends to leave the United States in order to fight with terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
Deeper in the story, though, the StarTribune lets it slip: Omar was not just any typical “Minnesota Man.”
The newspaper quotes the mother as saying, “Guled was born by myself under a tree” during their time “spent in a Kenyan refugee camp.” Never mind that this is Hussein’s second—not her first, her second—son who has been connected with radical Islamic terrorism, the Minneapolis StarTribune focuses on how Hussein, about Omar, was “protesting his innocence.”
“Still reeling from the weekend’s trauma, a tearful Hussein sat on her couch Monday morning and tried to come to grips with now losing her second son to the nationwide investigation of terrorist recruitment among Somali-Americans,” McEnroe wrote:
Omar is the youngest brother of indicted fugitive Ahmed Ali Omar, who left the U.S. in late 2007 as part of the first wave of Somali-Americans in the Twin Cities to fight for Al-Shabab in Somalia. Hussein said she hasn’t heard from Ahmed since — that he’s simply disappeared off the family’s radar. Now, she faces the prospect of losing Guled too, through a terrorism trial or a guilty plea that, either way, could put him in prison for decades.
While the StarTribune article, even further down, tells readers finally that Hussein is a “naturalized U.S. citizen,” it says nothing of the immigration status of Omar. For that information—whether or not Omar was granted U.S. citizenship by the government after coming to the United States—readers need to turn to another newspaper: The Chicago Tribune. More than ten paragraphs into that article from the Tribune wire service, readers finally learn: The United States government gave this man citizenship.
“All six are of Somali descent. Daud is a permanent resident, and Guled is a naturalized citizen,” the paper wrote of the six charged men. “The others were born in the U.S.”
To the wire service’s credit, though, it does—a few paragraphs deep—admit there is a problem in Minnesota:
The Minneapolis area is home to the largest concentration of Somali immigrants in the U.S. Since 2007, more than 22 young Somali men have also traveled from Minnesota to Somalia to join the militant group al-Shabab, which is also listed by the U.S. State Department as fomenting terrorism. Authorities have said a handful of Minnesota residents have traveled to Syria to fight with militants in the past year, and at least one has died.
4.) Legal Permanent Resident Abdurahman Yasin Daud Moves In Next Door
One of the others charged in the case in the third example—Abdurahman Yasin Daud—is a native Somalian who wound up in Minnesota, thanks to the U.S. government. But not only was he allowed into the country, according to the Tribune wire service piece in the Chicago Tribune, he was granted “permanent resident” status by the U.S. government.
Maybe if federal policy did not let people like this into the United States in the first place, FBI agents would not have to chase people like Daud and his buddies across the country as they plot to leave the United States to join the Islamic State in Syria.
In fact, federal law enforcement agents spent years—years—building this case.
Omar and two other members of the conspiracy also made an attempt to join ISIL by traveling across the U.S.–Mexico border near San Diego in May 2014, but failed when members of Omar’s family prevented his travel.
“In October 2014, members of the conspiracy communicated with ‘Antar,’ a self-described member of ISIL in Syria, about how best to travel to Syria to join ISIL,” the Justice Department said in a press release, adding:
Members of the conspiracy met with one another to discuss routes, methods and the timing of leaving the United States to join ISIL in Syria. Omar again attempted to join ISIL in Syria on Nov. 6, 2014, by flying from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport to San Diego, crossing the border into Mexico and traveling onward to Syria. Before he could board the flight in Minnesota, Omar was stopped at the airport and prevented from boarding the plane. In order to fund this second attempt to join ISIL in Syria, Omar intended to use federal financial aid provided to him by the U.S. Department of Education to attend college. Also in November 2014, Farah and three of his co-conspirators, Zacharia Abdurahman, Hanad Musse and Hamza Ahmed, took a bus from Minneapolis to New York City and attempted to board flights to Europe with an eventual destination of Syria. Federal agents in New York prevented the four from traveling abroad. In April 2015, Daud and Farah drove from Minneapolis to San Diego, where they intended to purchase fake passports, cross the border into Mexico and travel to Syria to join ISIL. Unbeknownst to them, the individual from whom they purchased the fake passports was a law enforcement officer and both were arrested by federal agents immediately after obtaining the phony travel documents.
5.) Sudanese Man Caught in Virginia Conspiring to Join Islamic State
While the January 16 press release from the Department of Justice was headlined “Two Virginia Men Charged with Terrorism Offenses Related to Attempted Travel to Syria to Join ISIL,” it turns out one of these “Virginia men” was actually an immigrant from the great nation of Sudan.
Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan—whom the DOJ admits “ is a legal permanent U.S. resident originally from Sudan,” but was living in Woodbridge, Virginia—was “charged with aiding and abetting [his friend Joseph Hassan] Farrokh’s attempt to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.” Farrokh was born in Pennsylvania.
Elhassan, the Sudanese man, according to a later release from the DOJ announcing his indictment on May 27, was a taxi driver who used his taxi to try to help Farrokh get to Syria to join the Islamic State.
“In furtherance of the conspiracy, on Jan. 15, 2016, Elhassan drove Farrokh to Richmond in order to enable Farrokh to fly to overseas to join ISIL,” the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced in the indictment press release:
According to the indictment, Elhassan also attempted to provide material support or resources to ISIL by aiding and abetting the attempt of Farrokh to join ISIL. Elhassan’s aiding and abetting included introducing Farrokh to an individual that Elhassan believed could facilitate Farrokh’s travel to the Islamic State; driving Farrokh from Farrokh’s home to Richmond in Elhassan’s taxi cab so that Farrokh could embark on his travel to join ISIL; and making false statements to the FBI about Farrokh’s travel in order to hinder the government’s investigation of Farrokh’s travel. According to the indictment, Elhassan knowingly, unlawfully, and willfully made material false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter involving international terrorism, including: On Jan. 15, 2016, Elhassan falsely stated to FBI agents that Farrokh had flown out of Dulles Airport earlier that day on a flight to California to attend a funeral; that Farrokh had said that he would be back in about two weeks; that neither he nor Farrokh supported the ISIL; and neither he nor Farrokh ever tried to find someone to help them get to ISIL.
Sudan is a northeastern African nation that is run by a legal system operating based on Sharia law, something that has been a source of controversy for the nation as it has handed out death sentences to those who engage in “apostasy.”
“Twenty-five Muslim men, including three teenagers, are facing the death penalty in Sudan after being charged with apostasy for following the wrong version of Islam,” The Guardian reported last December.
That is where Elhassan came from, before the U.S. government allowed him into America.
6.) Iraqi in Texas Sentenced to Four Years in U.S. Prison on Terror Charges
Bilal Abood, a 38-year-old Iraqi man who lives in Mesquite, Texas, was sentenced to 48 months in prison on May 25 for lying to the Feds about terrorism.
In this case, the Justice Department notes right up front that he was born in Iraq—but is now a U.S. citizen. Abood had traveled to Syria from Texas—and then back—and had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Badhdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.
“Abood admitted that on March 29, 2013, he attempted to depart the United States at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, but was not allowed to board the international flight,” the Justice Department press release said. It continued:
While at the airport, FBI special agents asked Abood about his planned travel and he stated he was merely planning to travel to Iraq to visit family. During a subsequent interview, Abood admitted to FBI special agents that his intent was to travel to Syria to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad. On approximately April 29, 2013, Abood left the United States through Mexico and traveled through various countries into Syria. On Sept. 16, 2013, Abood returned to the United States and admitted to FBI special agents that he had traveled to Syria, but he denied supporting any terrorist groups. A search warrant was executed on Abood’s computer on July 9, 2014. A review of that computer revealed that on approximately June 19, 2014, Abood stated, while using his Twitter handle @ibnalislaam, “I pledge obedience to the Caliphate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” Abood admitted that he knew that al-Baghdadi is the self-proclaimed leader of ISIL and was designated as a specially designated global terrorist on Oct. 4, 2011, and remains so to date. Abood also admitted that on April 14, 2015, FBI special agents advised him that lying to a federal agent is a crime. He further admitted that on that date, he falsely told FBI special agents that he had never pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi and that he was aware that the agents were investigating a matter that they suspected could involve international terrorism.
What the Justice Department doesn’t say in this release, or a prior one, is how this Iraqi man got into the United States—and obtained U.S. citizenship—in the first place.
For that, we turn to The Dallas Morning News, which details how Abood helped U.S. armed forces in Iraq as a translator during the Iraq war—and then took advantage of a special program for such translators.
“Abood, a translator for American forces during the Iraq War, left Iraq in 2009 to take advantage of a rare opportunity for U.S. Army interpreters to become American citizens,” The Dallas Morning News’ Kevin Krause wrote on May 25, 2016, continuing:
Abood, who speaks Arabic, said during testimony Wednesday that he was offered the interpreter job after warning U.S. troops that large weapons caches were being kept inside Iraqi schools. He said he also worked as a U.S. military contractor on civil affairs projects, such as building schools and roads. He joined the Army in 2010 and went through basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. Abood said he trained U.S. troops on how to deal with Iraqi culture and customs. He said he left the Army because it wouldn’t allow him to return to Iraq to see his sick mother. Abood said he settled in an apartment in Mesquite around 2010 where he lived with his common law wife and worked two jobs — one for UPS and the other as a security guard. He said he saved enough money to buy his mother a house in Iraq.
7.) The Uzbeki from Brooklyn Caught Funding Islamic State
Azizjon Rakhmatov, a 28-year-old man from Uzbekistan, whom the U.S. government permitted into United States, was—according to the New York Post—the “sixth man” charged “in an ISIS recruitment plot tied to Brooklyn.”
“Azizjon Rakhmatov, 28, originally from Uzbekistan, helped fund the foiled trip of Akhror Saidakhmetov and Adburasul Juraboev to Turkey and Syria so they could join ISIS, Brooklyn federal prosecutors said Wednesday,” the New York Post’s Pricilla DeGregory and Georgett Roberts wrote on May 11.
8.) Another Uzbeki from Brooklyn
Also previously charged in the case was Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev—a 25-year-old man whom an FBI agent in an affidavit available on the Justice Department website notes is a “citizen of Uzbekistan” and was granted “lawful permanent resident” status in the United States.
Juraboev, according to The New York Times, pleaded guilty in August 2015 of “conspiring to provide material support to” the Islamic State after trying to join the organization. He and a co-conspirator, the Times wrote, “had talked of violence on behalf of the Islamic State, like planting a bomb in Coney Island and attacking President Obama, the authorities said.”
9.) Kazakh Man U.S. Government Let In Tries to Join ISIS
Akhror Saidakhmetov, a 19-year-old man, was also connected to the case with Rakhmatov and Juraboev—and was described by progressive media outlet the Daily Beast as just another “Brooklyn Punk” and “Central Asian immigrant” who wanted to join the Islamic State. It turns out, according to the FBI agent’s affidavit, Saidakhmetov was a “citizen of Kazakhstan” who was also—thanks to the U.S. government—a “lawful permanent resident” of the United States.
10.) Visa Overstay: Another Uzbeki in Brooklyn’s Islamic State Case
Abror Habibov, a 30-year-old citizen of Uzbekistan, was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, in connection with the same case from the last few examples. According to CNN, police accused Habibov of being the one who “helped organize and finance” the entire operation.
“Court documents say Habibov operates mall kiosks that sell kitchenware and repair mobile phones,” CNN reported in 2015. “He has locations in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Virginia.”
CNN also reported that while Habibov was admitted to the United States “legally,” again by the federal government, he “overstayed his visa.” That, ironically, is exactly what many of the 9/11 terrorists did—and as Breitbart News has reported, the federal government still has not implemented the reforms laid out for the visa program recommended by the 9/11 Commission, particularly an entry-exit visa program. As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Breitbart News on 9/11 this year—15 years after the attack—implementing such a program, as Donald Trump has promised he will do, would be extraordinarily simple, cost very little, and only take a matter of months. But 15 years after 9/11, the U.S. government still has not done it.
Nonetheless, Habibov would not have been here if the government did what it was supposed to do.
This is the first in a multipart series from Breitbart News Network on this narrative. Look for more examples soon.