CALIFORNIA TERROR PLOTS FOILED
Intelligence Sharing Was Key
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
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.
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.
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.”