|via NPR – Man Suspected Of Jihadi Recruitment Link Indicted:
A federal grand jury formally indicted a 26-year-old medical technician from St. Paul, Minn., on Wednesday for allegedly lying to federal authorities.
Abdow Abdow was arrested Oct. 9, but the arrest was under seal and not made public until Tuesday, when he appeared in a St. Paul federal court. An FBI spokesman said Abdow’s arrest was related to the ongoing investigation into the two dozen Somali youths who have left the United States and traveled to Somalia to join a militia there called al-Shabab. Al-Shabab is in the middle of a civil war against the transitional government in Somalia and is on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. Its leadership is thought to have links to al-Qaida.
The criminal complaint against Abdow says he lied about driving a handful of Somali-Americans from Minneapolis across the country Oct. 6. One of the young men in the car had his passport and $4,000 in cash. Two other young men who were passengers in Abdow’s car tried to leave the United States through Mexico two days later.
When Abdow was asked about his fellow travelers, he denied they were in the car, the FBI says. When interviewed at work, Abdow allegedly told the FBI, “I’m talking too much.” Then, when he finally admitted to having a handful of passengers in his car, he added, “Whatever those guys are into, I’m not.”
The FBI also says Abdow denied renting the car for the drive himself, but agents say they can prove he used his debit card.
While the false statements might seem trivial, officials worry that Adbow was lying to protect a handful of young men helping al-Shabab in its recruitment of Americans. The FBI declined to say whether the men in the car were among those under investigation or whether they possibly intended to travel to Somalia.
U.S. intelligence officials have been following the case out of concern that the Somalis leaving Minneapolis are being funneled to al-Shabab through what might be America’s first jihadi pipeline. Officials worry the pipeline could lead to a raft of young men training for jihad and slipping back into the U.S. to launch an attack.
For almost two years, it appears al-Shabab has been recruiting young Somali men from U.S. cities like Minneapolis, Cleveland, Boston and San Diego. The recruits have been flown to Somalia and then put on the front lines of Somalia’s civil war. One of those recruits, a young Minneapolis man named Shirwa Ahmed, blew himself up in a suicide bombing last October. Four other young Minnesotans who signed up with al-Shabab are also believed dead.
One agent said this has been one of the biggest domestic terrorism investigations in this country since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. More arrests are expected.
Abdow has posted a $25,000 bond and will be staying in a halfway house as his case develops.
More via Man On Terror Watchlist Stopped Then Let Go:
A Somali man on the U.S. government’s terrorist watchlist was stopped last week by a police officer outside Las Vegas, but the officer had no legal authority to detain the man so he was sent on his way, multiple law enforcement sources told FOX News.
The gray Chevrolet was occupied by five men of Somali descent, including Cabdulaahi Faarax of Minneapolis and Abdow M. Abdow of Chanhassen, Minn., according to the court records and sources.
The five men offered conflicting accounts of their travel. All five told the officer they were on their way to San Diego to attend a friend’s wedding, but they “gave inconsistent explanations regarding where they were staying in San Diego, how the occupants knew one another, and who was getting married at the wedding in San Diego,” according to court documents.
When asked for their dates of birth, they all gave “January 1” as their birthday, but each offered a different year of birth. Faarax said he was born Jan. 1, 1977, making him 32 years old, one source said.
When the officer ran Faarax’s information through a law enforcement database, it came back as “a hit on the terrorist watchlist,” a law enforcement source said.
The officer who stopped the car last week would not have known what prompted Faarax’s name to be added to the terrorist watchlist, only that Faarax was on the list, one source said.
However, sources confirm that occupants of the car are related to the long-running FBI investigation of young men from the Minneapolis area and elsewhere who were recruited to train and possibly fight alongside an Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia, known as al-Shabaab.
One source said Faarax had certain associations with al-Shabaab, but how deep those associations run is unclear.
The officer who stopped Abdow’s vehicle found $4,000 in the car and eventually learned that Abdow’s wife had filed a missing persons report in Minneapolis. The officer contacted the FBI, which interviewed Abdow on Oct. 8.
An FBI spokesman in Minneapolis, E.K. Wilson, declined to comment for this article.
An FBI spokesman in Washington also declined to comment for this article.
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