nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Ahmad (E.D. Va. Dec. 2, 2011) (guilty plea in LET material support case involving youtube video)

A very interesting material support case in that the conduct at issue was the creation and uploading to Youtube of an LeT propaganda video. From the press release:

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – Jubair Ahmad, 24, a native of Pakistan and resident of Woodbridge, Va., pleaded guilty today to 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 the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III.

Ahmad faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 13, 2012.

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 Dec. 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 a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Ahmad was born and raised in Pakistan and 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 admitted today 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 Nov. 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 Sept. 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.

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Campbell 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.

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