nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Espionza (D.D.C. May 23, 2013) (guilty pleas in case involving murder of ICE agent in Mexico by members of Los Zetas)

May 23, 2013

The attached statement of facts by Espinoza describes his role in Los Zetas and the circumstances that led to the murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata and attempted murder of Special Agent Victor Avila. DOJ’s press release appears below:

Julian Zapata Espinoza – Statement of Facts.pdf

nationalsecuritylaw fellowship opportunity at NYU Center on Law and Security

May 23, 2013

This sounds really, really neat. See the attached job (and project) description, from the NYU Center on Law and Security.

Public-Private Fellow Announcement.pdf

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Kurbanov (D. Idaho, D. Utah) (indictments)

May 17, 2013

See the attached indictments, and DOJ’s press release below:

Unsealed Kurbanov Utah indictment.pdf
Kurbanov Idaho indictment.pdf

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Abassi (S.D.N.Y. May 9, 2013) (indictment in visa-fraud case with allegations of plot to recruit for and support terrorism abroad, and possibly carry out terrorism US)

May 9, 2013

The indictment is attached, and the press release appears below. Note that the press release indicates that Abassi had “radicalized” Chiheb Esseghaier (one of the men now in custody in Canada in connection with a plot to derail a train) and had met with him in NYC


NEW YORK – An indictment charging Ahmed Abassi, a Tunisian citizen, with fraudulently applying for a work visa in order to remain in the United States to facilitate an act of international terrorism was unsealed today in federal court in New York, announced Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI; and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (NYPD).

Abassi was arrested on April 22, 2013, and was presented and arraigned on May 2, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum. Judge Cedarbaum has scheduled a conference in the case for 3:00 p.m. today.

U.S. Attorney Bharara said: “As alleged, Ahmed Abassi had an evil purpose for seeking to remain in the United States – to commit acts of terror and develop a network of terrorists here, and to use this country as a base to support the efforts of terrorists internationally. Thanks to the extraordinary vigilance of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners, Abassi has been thwarted and is being prosecuted for his alleged crimes. Protecting the residents of the Southern District, and all Americans, from terrorists is the number one priority of this office.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos said: “As alleged, Mr. Abassi came to the United States to pursue terrorist activity and support others in the same shameful pursuit. What Mr. Abassi didn’t know was that one of his associates, privy to the details of his plan, was an undercover FBI agent. The FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force partners will continue working tirelessly to protect the country from those who seek to do us harm.”

NYPD Commissioner Kelly said: “The allegations in this case serve as still another reminder that terrorism has not abated, that we must remain vigilant, and that when we do, terrorist plots against us can be thwarted.”

As alleged in the indictment unsealed today in New York federal court and other documents filed in the case:

Abassi, who previously resided in Canada, traveled to the United States in mid-March 2013, where he remained until his arrest. While in the United States, Abassi, who was under surveillance by law enforcement agents at all times, maintained regular contact with an FBI undercover officer (UC), and also met with Chiheb Esseghaier in New York City. Esseghaier, who was recently arrested in Canada and is currently incarcerated there on terrorism charges, was previously radicalized by Abassi. During Abassi’s discussions with Esseghaier and with the UC, which were recorded by the UC, Abassi discussed his desire to engage in terrorist acts against targets in the United States and other countries, and his intention to provide support and funding to organizations engaged in terrorist activity – including the al-Nusrah Front, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of State as an alias for al-Qaeda in Iraq – and to recruit other individuals for terrorist plots. In particular, Abassi discussed with the UC a number of individuals known to Abassi and/or to his associates, whom he described as like-minded and who, in his view, would be willing to engage in terrorist activity.

On April 12, 2013, Abassi and the UC discussed Abassi’s efforts to recruit others for terrorist plots, and that he might be able to obtain immigration documents to remain in the United States, purportedly in order to work for the UC’s U.S.-based company. In reality, Abassi made clear that he wanted to obtain immigration documents and to remain in the United States so that he could engage in “projects” relating to future terrorist activities, including recruitment. Thereafter, Abassi made false statements on two immigration forms, under penalty of perjury, and subsequently mailed those forms to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for processing.

The indictment charges Abassi with two counts of knowingly making false statements in an application to the immigration authorities for a green card and work visa, in order to facilitate an act of international terrorism. Each count carries a maximum term of 25 years in prison.

The charges and arrest of Abassi are the result of the close cooperative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force – which principally consists of agents and detectives of the FBI and the NYPD – and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. U.S. Attorney Bharara also thanked the National Security Division and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for their ongoing assistance.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. Cronan, Michael Ferrara, and Benjamin A. Naftalis are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.



Abassi, Ahmed Indictment.pdf

nationalsecuritylaw upcoming event: “The Past, Present and Future of U.S. Detainee Policy” (Heritage Foundation, May 13)

May 7, 2013

This will be a really cool event, featuring four of the five folks who’ve ever had the title of DASD-Detainee Affairs:

~ A Protect America Month Program ~

The Past, Present and Future

of U.S. Detainee Policy


Matthew C. Waxman

Professor of Law and Co-Chair, Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security,
Columbia Law School,

and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs (2004-2005)

Sandra Hodgkinson

Vice President and Chief of Staff, DRS Technologies,

and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs (2007-2009)

William K. Lietzau

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rule of Law and Detainee Policy (2010 to present)

Hosted by

Charles D. Stimson

Senior Legal Fellow and Manager, National Security Law Program, The Heritage Foundation,

and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs (2006-2007)

Since September 11, 2001, the United States Department of Defense has detained thousands of individuals under the laws of war. Today, all have been released or transferred but for 166 men in Guantanamo Bay and a dozen or so in Afghanistan that pose an enduring security threat. Over the past decade, some detainee policies and practices have changed, yet others have remained the same. What were the major mistakes and reactions to those mistakes? What were the major milestones and accomplishments in detainee and interrogation policy? What role did politics, the Congress, and the American people play in policy formulation and implementation? And what lessons can we learn from the past decade going forward? Join us to hear from our expert panel of four past and present Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Detainee Affairs.

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.

The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium

RSVP online | or call (202) 675-1752

Terms and conditions of attendance are posted at

All events may be viewed live at

News media inquiries, call (202) 675-1761

214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE | Washington, DC 20002 | (202) 546-4400

Detainees flyer.doc

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Dutschke (N. D. Miss.) (criminal complaint in ricin case)

May 5, 2013

Courtesy of the Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy at Texas Tech University School of Law, please find attached the criminal complaint in the Mississippi ricin case.