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Entries in bomb plot (18)

Monday
May272013

Bomb Plot Suspect Spoke to Classmates About Bombs Weeks Before Arrest

Facebook; ABC News(ALBANY, Ore.) -- An Oregon high school student accused of plotting to blow up his school had approached classmates to talk about bombs weeks before his arrest, according to students.

Grant Acord, 17, a junior at West Albany High School, was arrested late Thursday at his home on two counts of possession of a destructive device and two counts of manufacture of a destructive device, according to the Albany Police Department.

But prosecutors say he will be charged as an adult with aggravated murder and is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Benton County Circuit Court.

West Albany High School student Thomas Stone said Acord approached him in class two weeks ago and initiated a conversation about bomb-making materials.

"He was just, just kind of randomly came up to us and started talking about the different materials that you need to make a bomb," Stone told ABC News affiliate KATU-TV. "Like, he was describing how to make one, which thinking back should have brought up more suspicion."

"You know, I didn't think much of it 'cause he's kind of a strange kid," Stone added. "So I wasn't surprised he had some strange hobbies, you know?"

Keagan Boggs, another West Albany student, said he overheard Acord approach a group of students and mention bombs.

"It wasn't like 'Oh, I'm making bombs, I'm gonna blow stuff up,'" Boggs told KATU. "It was just talking about it, like something that you wouldn't really think like 'Oh, he's gonna blow something up. Like a school.'"

Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said the teen had a detailed plan, timeline and a deadly cache of weapons "specifically modeled after the Columbine shootings," that killed 13 people and injured 21 more in 1999.

According to Haroldson, the explosives police allegedly found hidden in a secret compartment under the floor of his bedroom included pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, napalm bombs and explosives made from drain cleaner.

Acord had also picked a date for the plot to unfold, according to Haroldson, but he would not elaborate.
Police were alerted to the case by a tip from a 911 caller that Acord had made a bomb, planned to blow up his high school and asked friends to film the incident when it happened, officials said.

Other classmates at West Albany High School described Acord as a "happy" and "nice" person.

"I'd say 'hi' to him in the hallway, cause I was kind of ... was like, 'Well, I should probably talk to this kid ... make sure he feels OK,'" West Albany student Dennis Reilly said. "So, I'd talk to him sometimes and he seems like a pretty nice guy."

As Acord heads to court Tuesday morning, his classmates will be heading back to school after the Memorial Day weekend, thankful the alleged plot was foiled.

"I was just, like, shocked and like even more thankful we are all still alive," said Boggs. "Because he could have, he had plans, like he could have done it any day. He obviously was ready. He was just waiting for the right moment."

The school's superintendent said police and bomb dogs have swept the high school twice and found no devices.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb082013

Terror Sting: California Man Arrested in Taliban Car Bomb Plot

Doug Menuez/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Federal agents arrested a California man Friday morning in a terror sting after he allegedly tried to detonate a car bomb at an Oakland bank as part of a Taliban plot.

The FBI said the explosive device that Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, of San Jose tried to use was not operable and posed no threat, and that Llaneza's Taliban contact was actually an undercover agent.

According to authorities, in November Llaneza met with a man he believed was linked to the Taliban and the mujahideen in Afghanistan. At their initial meeting, Llaneza allegedly proposed a car-bomb attack against a bank and making the bombing look like the work of anti-government militias. According to the criminal complaint, Llaneza wanted to spark a government crackdown and a right-wing backlash that would lead to civil war.

Llaneza and his Taliban contact, who was really an informant, then allegedly constructed the bomb inside an SUV parked in Hayward, Calif. On the evening of Feb. 7, according to the complaint, Llaneza parked the SUV outside a Bank of America branch on Hegenberger Road in Oakland and then walked to a nearby location, where he met the undercover agent. He was arrested by the South Bay Joint Terrorism Task Force after he allegedly attempted to detonate the bomb via cellphone.

Llaneza appeared before a federal judge in Oakland Friday morning, and will return for a bail hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 13. He is charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan072013

Alabama Teen's Planned Bomb Plot Against School Was a Hate Crime

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A 17-year-old, self-proclaimed white supremacist will be arraigned on Monday in what police say was a plot to attack fellow students at his high school in Russell County, Ala., with homemade explosive devices.

Derek Shrout was arrested last Friday after a teacher at Russell County High School found what appears to be the teen's journal and contacted authorities.  Police said the journal contained plans to kill six students and one teacher with homemade grenades.  Six of the seven individuals were black.

In the journal, police say that Shrout thought the white male on his list was gay.

"That's the reason the white male was on the list.  It screams hate crime," Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said.

Investigators say Shrout started writing in his journal just three days after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.

"The journal contained several plans that looked like potential terrorist attacks and attacks of violence and danger on the school," Taylor said.

Shrout told police that the journal was a work of fiction.

"I didn't think anything like that could happen in Russell County.  I thought maybe that's just something that happens everywhere else," said student Qunitin Hobbs.

Shrout told police that he rarely interacted with the people he's accused of targeting.  Police say Shrout learned how to make the devices on the Internet.

A search of Shrout's home turned up dozens of empty tobacco containers filled with shrapnel.  The containers had holes in them ready for fuses to ignite.  He hadn't obtained gunpowder, fuses or a substance to ignite the devices.

"He could have got the whole school, just got all of us at once," said student Javon Rogers.

Shrout is expected to plead not guilty in his court appearance later Monday.  The teen is being charged as an adult with attempted assault.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

Sentences Handed Down in Ohio Bridge Bomb Plot

Hemera/Thinkstock(AKRON, Ohio) -- Three men convicted of a plot to blow up an Ohio bridge last spring received stiff prison sentences Tuesday in an Akron courtroom.

Douglas Wright, the admitted ring leader who goes by the name of "Cyco," got an 11-year sentence, while co-conspirators Brandon "Skabby" Baxter and Connor Stevens will spend nine and eight years behind bars, respectively.

The anarchists and two other men had planned to destroy the four-lane Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge spanning the Cuyahoga Valley National Park by detonating improvised devices containing C-4 explosives.

However, their plot was foiled by undercover federal agents and they were taken into custody on April 30.  All pleaded guilty last September to charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and use of an explosive device to destroy property used in interstate commerce.

One of the other two defendants will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov132012

Student Handed Life Sentence for Attempted Bomb Plot

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A judge in Texas sentenced a Saudi Arabian man Tuesday for attempting to make bombs in an attempt to target several sites and former President George W. Bush.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a Saudi Arabian citizen living in Lubbock, Texas where he was studying chemical engineering at Texas Tech, will now serve life in federal prison; he was found guilty last June of attempting to purchase chemicals that would make something similar to TNT. He also sent emails writing about potential targets including nuclear plants and the home of former President Bush.

Authorities detected Aldawsari's plot when he attempted to purchase a large amount of phenol to make his bombs from a chemical supply company.

Assistant Attorney General Monaco said, "Khalid Aldawsari came to this country intent on carrying out an attack. He then began purchasing ingredients to construct a bomb and was actively researching potential targets in America.  Thanks to the hard work of many agents, analysts and prosecutors, his plot was thwarted before anyone was harmed; he was convicted at trial and, today at sentencing, he was held accountable for his actions."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep172012

Man Believes His Bar Was Targeted by Teen in Alleged Bomb Plot

ABC(CHICAGO) -- The FBI has yet to name the Chicago bar that an 18-year-old suburban teen was allegedly trying to blow up with a car bomb, but one bar owner says his establishment was the target.

Mike Feirstein, the co-owner of Cal's Bar and Liquors, told ABC News Monday that about 15 undercover agents wearing earpieces surrounded a vehicle outside his bar at 400 South Wells St. Friday evening. Bombing suspect Adel Daoud, who was arrested nearby, is expected to appear in federal court later today to face charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.

Officials said that the "car bomb" that Daoud allegedly parked on South Wells Street and tried to detonate was a fake, and that no one was in any danger.

Though Feirstein said he believed his bar was the target, the FBI has yet to officially name which bar the suspect was allegedly trying to destroy. A bar next door to Cal's called Cactus includes an outdoor beer garden that is often full of people. On Friday at 8 p.m., there were about 20 people inside Cal's, according to Feirstein, but more at Cactus.

The affidavit says Daoud settled on his unnamed target because it was a bar, a liquor store and a concert venue and would be filled with "the evilest people" on a weekend night. Cal's was hosting musical performances from local bands on Friday.

Meanwhile, neighbors near Daoud's suburban Chicago home are stunned at the allegations.

"I've sat and listened to him in conversations with my kids. It was never anything like, you know, we hate Americans or anything like that," said neighbor Dorothy Leverson.

According to authorities, the undercover operation began in May when two undercover FBI agents contacted the teen in response to material he had allegedly posted online regarding violent jihad and the killing of Americans.

Investigators say Daoud made several postings on an internet forum, allegedly writing, "I hate the oppression of the USA and I would love to do something that would hurt it from the inside," according to the criminal complaint.

From late May until mid-June, the undercover agents corresponded with Daoud. During those communications, he affirmed his interest in engaging in a violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to the affidavit.

In June, one of the undercover agents introduced a purported cousin, who was identified as an operational terrorist living in New York, to Daoud.

During this time, Daoud allegedly made a list of 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and Chicago tourist attractions.

The 18-year-old researched and monitored a target for the attack, according to the affidavit, which would be carried out with an explosive device provided by an undercover agent.

At 7:15 p.m. on Friday, the teen and the agent drove to their target in downtown Chicago. During the car ride, Daoud allegedly led a prayer that the attack succeed, "kill many people" and "cause destruction," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

The pair entered a parking lot where the fake car bomb was set up inside of a Jeep. Daoud drove the Jeep out of the lot and parked it in front of the bar he had allegedly identified as his target, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Daoud and the agent walked to an alley one block away where the agent witnessed the 18-year-old press the triggering mechanism, attempting to detonate the device, prosecutors said. He was then taken into custody.

Daoud is expected to enter a plea at 3 p.m. today in federal court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug102012

Ft. Hood Bomb Plotter Sentenced to Life in Prison 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WACO, Texas) -- The young serviceman convicted of plotting a massacre of his fellow soldiers near Fort Hood in Texas received dual consecutive life sentences today.

Naser Jason Abdo, 22, sat in a Texas court today in a bizarre mask made of white cloth around his mouth and a black mesh covering over his hair and face, a Department of Justice official told ABC News. The life sentences were handed down for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and for possession of a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime. Abdo got another 60 years for the attempted murder of "officers or employees of the United States," among other charges.

Abdo, a private first class, was convicted of planning to attack a restaurant full of soldiers near Fort Hood. He had gone AWOL from Fort Campbell in Kentucky after his approved status as a conscientious objector was put on hold while he was investigated for allegedly possessing child pornography.

He was arrested on July 21, 2011 at a Killeen hotel after arousing the suspicions of the staff of a local gun store when he tried to purchase smokeless gunpowder and shotgun and pistol ammunition. A handgun, bomb-making materials and an article from the Al Qaeda magazine "Inspire" called "How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom" were found in his room.

Two days after his arrest, Abdo shouted "Nidal Hasan -- Fort Hood 2009," an apparent reference to the 2009 Fort Hood massacre in which Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Hasan, allegedly shot and killed 13 servicemen. Abdo had been previously accused of spitting blood, which he believed to be HIV positive, on his guards. He was convicted in May of several charges relating to the plot.

"Today's sentencing of Mr. Abdo is a conclusion to an investigation which defines what we hope to do every time, that is to prevent an act of terrorism before it occurs," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez in a release from the Department of Justice.

Nidal Hasan, the man who allegedly inspired Abdo's plot, was himself in military court Thursday where he was held in contempt for refusing to shave his beard per military standards.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

FBI Investigates Media Leaks in Yemen Bomb Plot

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- FBI director Robert S. Mueller III Wednesday disclosed that the FBI is investigating leaks to the news media about the recently disrupted plot by al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate to smuggle a bomb designed to be concealed in underwear onto a U.S.-bound jet.

A day after the plot was first reported, it was revealed that the individual at the center of the plot was a double agent working for Britain’s MI-6 secret intelligence service and the CIA along with Saudi Arabian intelligence assets.

“We have initiated an investigation into this leak,” Mueller testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.  “Leaks such as this threaten ongoing operations, puts at risk the lives of sources, makes it much more difficult to recruit sources, and damages our relationships with our foreign partners.”

“Leaks such as this have a -- I don’t want to overuse the word ‘devastating’ -- but have a huge impact on our ability to do our business, not just on a particular source and the threat to the particular source, but your ability to recruit sources is severely hampered,” Mueller said, describing the implications of the leak of sensitive national security information.

Mueller continued, “In cases such as this, your -- the relationship with your counterparts overseas are damaged [sic] which means that an inhibition in the willingness of others to share information with us where they don’t think that information will remain secure.  So it also has some long-term effects, which is why it is so important to make certain that the persons who are responsible for the leak are brought to justice.”

The investigation is likely being run by the Justice Department’s counterespionage section and agents from the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Justice Department officials and an FBI spokesman declined to comment on the nature of the investigation. The CIA also declined comment.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is also conducting a review with the DNI’s general counsel to see if the leaks originated in any of the 16 agencies that DNI director James Clapper oversees.

Earlier in the day Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, addressed the issue of media leaks relating to the plot and called it “devastating.”

“Leaks do endanger people’s lives...that is not an exaggeration,” Olsen said, speaking before the American Bar Association’s standing Committee on Law and National Security, in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May102012

Al Qaeda Mole Recruited By British Intelligence: Officials

Saudi fugitive Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. (Saudi Interior Ministry/Landov)(WASHINGTON) -- A mole recruited by British intelligence is the hero who penetrated al Qaeda's most recent bomb plot, intelligence sources told ABC News.

The operation in which the mole -- who travelled on a European Union passport that would have gotten him through U.S. security, should that have been a part of the plot -- had been in place for several months and the American role in the operation only took on operational urgency in the past two or so months, the officials said.

The long running operation with the deep cover operative was one that intelligence agencies planned to keep running. It was pulled up short in the past week when leaks developed and put the infiltrator in jeopardy. Sources involved in the intelligence operation said the plan was to keep the operation running until a more complete picture of the still developing plots and plans of the Yemen based group and its sinister, creative bombmaker, were learned.

"This was gold dust," one senior intelligence official said. "Such assets are few and far between."

Authorities would not discuss the whereabouts of the wanted bombmaker, known as Ibrahim al-Asiri, at this time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May102012

Obama: Foiled Al Qaeda Plot Not a Surprise

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A foiled al Qaeda bomb plot meant to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death did not endanger any American lives, President Obama said, adding that he was “on top of this the entire time.”

“I was briefed on this in April,” Obama told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an exclusive interview.  “At no point were American lives in danger or American aircraft in danger.”

While Obama would not comment on the specifics of the operation, he stressed in his first public comments on the case that the U.S. is “learning lessons” from the intercepted explosive device, now in FBI custody.

“I don’t think it should be any surprise,” Obama said of reports of a new wave of al Qaeda bomb makers determined to take down an American airliner.

“I’ve been very clear that, even with the death of Bin Laden, even as weakened as al Qaeda is, if you have a bunch of extremists who are adamant about trying to kill civilians then we are going to have to maintain constant vigilance and create a whole series of layers of protection and barriers,” he said.

“And, you know, fortunately, what we’ve seen is constant improvement on the part of our law enforcement, our military [and] our intelligence officers that allows us to be able to prevent the kind of attack that we just saw,” the president added.

Obama warned against complacency, telling Roberts that the nation’s security apparatus will have to “just keep on working as hard as we can to make sure that folks don’t get hurt.”

On Monday, the government announced it had successfully thwarted a plot by a Yemen-based al Qaeda terrorist who had planned to use a modified underwear bomb to destroy a U.S.-bound commercial airplane.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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