Friday, April 13, 2012
Virginia Man Sentenced to 144 Months for Providing Material Support to Terrorist Organization
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Jubair Ahmad, 24, a native of Pakistan and resident of Woodbridge, Virginia, was sentenced today to 144 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis, III.
“We’ve seen a sharp increase in terrorists’ use of social networking services like YouTube to reach a worldwide audience,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Jubair Ahmad was deeply committed to LeT’s violent aims, which he promoted through online propaganda, recruiting others and fundraising for the terrorist organization responsible for the deadly 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, which killed 160 people, including two Virginians.”
“The activities of Jubair Ahmad and his LeT associates provide insights into how terrorist organizations produce their propaganda,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “Today, Ahmad is being held accountable for providing this form of material support to LeT.”
“Mr. Ahmad directly supported the mission of a designated terrorist organization through his creation of online propaganda, fundraising, and recruitment efforts. He is now being held accountable for those actions,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “The FBI will continue to pursue those who provide material support to terrorist groups, whether online or in person, and ensure that they are brought to justice.”
LeT, or “Army of the Pure,” serves as the military arm of the political movement Markaz al-Dawa wal-Irshad in Pakistan. The mission of LeT is to conduct and promote violent jihad against those considered to be the enemies of Islam. On December 24, 2001, the U.S. Department of State designated LeT as a foreign terrorist organization. The focus of LeT operations has been attacks on the neighboring country of India, in particular the disputed region of Kashmir between Pakistan and India.
According to court records, Ahmad was born and raised in Pakistan, where he attended LeT training camps as a teen. In 2007, after receiving a visa from the U.S. Department of State, Ahmad moved from Pakistan to the United States with his family.
Ahmad pleaded guilty on December 2, 2011, and admitted that in September 2010, while at his residence in Woodbridge, he engaged in a series of communications with an individual named Talha Saeed, who was in Pakistan. Talha Saeed is the son of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the leader of LeT. Talha Saeed requested Ahmad to prepare a video that would contain a prayer by Hafiz Saeed calling for the support of jihad and the mujahideen. In addition, Talha Saeed instructed Ahmad to present a variety of violent images on the video while Hafiz Saeed’s prayer is heard in the background.
Talha Saeed directed Ahmad to begin the LeT video with a number of pictures of Hafiz Saeed, then show scenes where atrocities have been inflicted on Muslims, followed by the activities of the mujahideen conducting attacks in Kashmir. At one point, Ahmad asked Talha Saeed if he wanted to include an image of the Mumbai attack to show the power of LeT. This is a reference to LeT’s operation against the city of Mumbai, India on November 26, 2008, which resulted in the death of over 160 people, including six Americans. Talha replied that he should not use anything referring to Mumbai.
Ahmad admitted that Talha Saeed told him to search for “Lashkar-e-Taiba” on YouTube to find additional images of mujahideen operations to include in the video. Talha Saeed further stated that the video will be popular in Pakistan and will run continuously on significant media programs and presentations.
On September 25, 2010, Ahmad completed the LeT video and uploaded it to a YouTube account on the Internet. The next day, Ahmad sent a communication to another person overseas in which he explained that “Hafiz Saeed’s son Talha Saeed” had requested him to prepare the video. Forensic examination by the FBI subsequently confirmed that Ahmad had constructed the LeT video on his computer.
At sentencing, the government also presented evidence that Ahmad, while in the United States, also conspired to recruit others to attend LeT training camps, conspired to raise funds for LeT and expressed his intention to return to Pakistan to complete the LeT commando training course and be launched on a martyrdom mission.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen M. Campbell and Neil Hammerstrom from the National Security and International Crimes Unit of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney John T. Gibbs from the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division in the U.S. Department of Justice are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.