A Pakistani doctor, admitted to the United States through the H-1B visa program, wanted to attack Americans for the Islamic State (ISIS), federal agents say in a criminal complaint.
Muhammad Masood, a 28-year-old Pakistani national, first arrived in the U.S. in February 2018 after he was able to secure an H-1B visa — the visa program whereby more than 100,000 foreign workers are brought to the U.S. every year and are allowed to stay for up to six years. There are about 650,000 H-1B visa foreign workers in the U.S. at any given moment.
Masood worked as an H-1B visa holder “research coordinator” in Rochester, Minnesota. The Associated Press confirmed that Masood was employed at the Mayo Clinic but was not working there at the time of his arrest.
According to a criminal complaint by federal agents with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Masood repeatedly stated his wanting to commit terrorism on Americans for ISIS while in the U.S. on his H-1B visa.
“[Masood] indicated … because he was currently in the United States, ‘sometimes I want to attack [the] enemy when I am behind enemy [lines] itself’ because ‘not many people [can] even reach here to attack,’” the criminal complaint states. “Discussing his travel to [commit jihad for ISIS], [Masood] noted that he will lose the chance to conduct an attack in the United States: ‘I wonder if I will miss the opportunity of attacking the enemy when I was in the middle of it.’”
In another message through a messaging app, Masood said he had intended to attack Americans in the U.S. while on his H-1B visa but decided to make travel plans to fight for ISIS in Syria instead, according to federal agents.
“You know [brother] … there is so much I wanted to do here … [lone wolf] stuff you know… but I realized [I] should be on the ground helping brothers, sisters, kids inshAllah,” Masood allegedly wrote in a message.
On February 21, federal agents said Masood bought a plane ticket from Chicago, Illinois, to Amman, Jordan, where he then planned to travel to Syria. After Masood was forced to cancel his trip to Jordan due to the Chinese coronavirus crisis, he bought a plane ticket from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Los Angeles, California.
On March 19, Masood was taken into custody by federal agents after arriving at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to board his flight.
Masood has been charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. He was indicted on Friday.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.