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CALIFORNIA TERROR PLOTS FOILED
Intelligence Sharing Was Key

09/01/05

Photograph of Director Mueller

AP Photo

On 8/31, Director Mueller joined Attorney General Gonzales in announcing the indictment of four men—including three U.S. citizens and one lawful resident from Pakistan—for planning terrorist strikes in southern California later this year.

Their goal? To kill “infidels” by attacking U.S. military facilities, an Israeli consulate building, the El Al Israeli airline, and Jewish synagogues in the Los Angeles area.

The plots were allegedly hatched in the California State Prison in Sacramento by the founder of a radical organization named Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or JIS. One of his followers was paroled in the late November 2004, and, acting on the prison gang leader’s instructions, recruited two operatives and began preparing to launch attacks.

How far had their plans gone? Pretty far. They’d surfed the web to identify and scope out targets, drawn up a list of possible locations for attack, conducted surveillance, bought weapons, and begun physical and firearms training. Armed with shotguns, they’d even staged nearly a dozen robberies of gas stations across Southern California from late May to July to finance their operations.

What was the key break in the case? According to the Director, officers of the Torrance and Los Angeles Police Departments “gained information during a local robbery investigation, recognized that it could have broader intelligence value, and shared that information with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Los Angeles. Our JTTF then used that intelligence to drive their investigation of this potential terrorist cell and uncover their violent potential plot.” Director Mueller thanked more than dozen law enforcement agencies and prosecutors for their “dedicated efforts” in disrupting the plot and indicting members of the terrorist cell.

As Attorney General Gonzales said, “Thanks to the communication and coordination of law enforcement at every level, we were able to connect the dots and make these arrests before any American lives were lost.”

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