AUSTIN, Texas–This week, after a joint investigation between federal agencies, military intelligence, and local Central Texas law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested two Central Texas men on terrorism charges.
As KXAN reported, the first arrest was Tuesday, involving a 23-year-old full time student at the University of Texas at Austin named Rahatul Ashikim Khan. He was arrested at his home in Round Rock, which authorities raided for evidence. Khan is accused of conspiring with others to recruit people who would “travel overseas to support terrorist activities including committing violent jihad,” including traveling to Somalia to join an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group known as al-Shabaab.
According to court documents, an undercover FBI source met with Khan in Austin, who told the FBI source that “he could not wait to spill blood,” and that he was actively searching for recruits for the terrorist organization.
The second arrest, a separate and unrelated case, involved another Austin man, Michael Todd Wolfe, also known as Faruq, 23. Wolfe was arrested as he prepared to board a flight to Europe, en route to the Middle East. Similar to Khan, Wolfe was arrested after divulging incriminating evidence to an undercover FBI agent late last year, including his plans “to provide his services to radical groups engaged in armed conflict in Syria,” and to fly his family from Texas to Denmark.
Alleged terrorism arrests or raids are not unheard of in Central Texas. In 2007, a teacher and nonprofit leader named Riad Hamad had his home raided in Austin, Texas by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. In that case, Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby worked with the FBI as a confidential source. “Under the guise of helping Palestinian children, Hamad had siphoned off monies that he said he intended to secretly send to Israel outside of legitimate means,” said Darby. “He had discussed suicide bombings against Israeli civilians in this regard and I turned him in to the FBI.”
The Hamad investigation resulted in the man’s suicide. He wrapped himself in duct tape and jumped into Lady Bird Lake in the center of Austin, in an apparent effort to avoid the consequences of his actions and to stir controversy. That case was handled by the Austin office of the San Antonio division, the same office handling the two investigations discussed in this article.
Sarah Rumpf is a political and communications consultant living in Austin. You can follow her on Twitter at @rumpfshaker.