Surprise! Just when John Brennan had you feeling relaxed by telling Jihad was ok, another jihadi gets arrested trying to provide material support to jihadis. OMG, my sense of trust in the government's strategic understanding of enemy threat doctrine has been turned upside down.....oh, wait, never mind, these are not the droids I'm looking for.
Houston Chronicle has the story here:
Barry Walter Bujol Jr. claimed he was just a window washer, but a federal grand jury on Thursday accused the 29-year-old of attempting to provide al-Qaida terrorists with global positioning instruments, cell phones and a restricted publication on the effects of U.S. military weapons in Afghanistan.
According to court records, the tall, bearded Bujol was arrested by federal agents at the Port of Houston while boarding a ship bound for the Middle East.
Bujol, a U.S. citizen, was shackled at the waist and ankles when he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy, who ordered him to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
“This arrest is a sobering reminder of the threat we continue to face,” said Richard Powers, head of the FBI's Houston division. “It remains the FBI's overriding priority to predict and prevent terrorist attacks, at home and abroad.”
Authorities also searched Bujol's home at the Pine Meadows Apartments in Hempstead.
He said little in court; his attorney could not be reached immediately after the hearing.
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force began investigating Bujol in 2008 and determined he was sending e-mail to Anwar al-Aulaqi, a known associate and propagandist for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, according to prosecutors.
Al-Aulaqi provided him with a document titled “42 Ways of Supporting Jihad.” Bujol also allegedly sought al-Aulaqi for advice on how to provide money to the mujahedeen overseas. Al-Aulaqi is the native-born U.S. citizen who exchanged e-mail with the suspect in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan.
In addition, Bujol made three unsuccessful attempts during February and March 2009 to leave the country and travel to Yemen or elsewhere in the Middle East, according to court documents.
The indictment lists 11 names for Bujol, including Pat, Paul, Michael, Abu ABudha Al Farnasi and Abu Najya.
He is accused of knowingly attempting to provide material support or resources to al-Qaida, including personnel, currency, prepaid phone cards, mobile telephone SIM cards and global positioning systems.
Prosecutors said he also attempted to provide restricted publications that detailed not only aspects of U.S. military systems, but described unmanned vehicles as well.
“Protecting the American public from the threat of terrorism, both international and home-grown, is the highest priority of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas,” said Jose Angel Moreno, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas.
FBI enlists informant
As federal authorities did not take questions, it is not known how Bujol first came to their attention, what steps he allegedly took to transport the goods to al-Qaida, or whether any of those items were procured in the Houston area. Also unknown at this point is how Bujol is alleged to have made his initial contact with al-Qaida.
Beginning in November 2009, the FBI brought a confidential informant into the investigation — someone whom Bujol allegedly believed was an al-Qaida operative, according to prosecutors.
Over the next few months, Bujol repeatedly said he was willing to travel overseas to fight for al-Qaida.
The person working for the FBI provided him with a fake identification card that Bujol would use to get into the port in order to board a ship bound for the Middle East.
Bujol and his wife, Ernestine Johnson, are also charged with fraud in connection with an alleged conspiracy to obtain housing subsidies, court records show.
In 2009, Bujol claimed to make just $75 a week working part-time as a window washer at what authorities contend was a bogus company established in his name.
Johnson said she survived on money sent from the family.
Accused of rent scam
Because of the low income he claimed, Bujol secured subsidies that lowered the couple's rent to just $6 per month, instead of the usual $715, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.
At one point, Bujol allegedly was using the Social Security number of a man who had been killed in a car accident in Louisiana in 2001.
The FBI said it started keeping tabs on Bujol in 2009 with a camera hidden outside the couple's apartment, and never saw evidence that he had gainful employment.