Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Muslim convert arrested for pipebomb plotting in NYC

It appears we have another case not unlike that of Jose Padilla. He was also under surveillance for 2 years (Hat tip: Jihad Watch):
(CNN) -- New York Police Department counterterrorism officials say they were first alerted to the activities of Jose Pimentel, accused of plotting to detonate pipe bombs in the city, about two-and-a-half years ago.

One official told CNN they were notified about Pimentel's activities by law enforcement sources in upstate New York in May 2009. By then, the official says, he was already "radicalized."

The NYPD used an informant to make contact with Pimentel, to befriend him and monitor his activities.

They wanted to get a sense of his intentions, to "wash him out," as the official put it.

Pimentel - a native of the Dominican Republic and a convert to Islam - was arraigned in New York Sunday. He faces five charges, including criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism.

According to a senior counterterrorism source, Pimentel had expressed a desire to go to Yemen at some point in 2010, and sent an email to the al Qaeda cleric and propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in September of this year. He did not receive a reply, the source said.

The official told CNN that Pimentel was prolific online - maintaining a website called True Islam.

A website called trueislam1.com which is mentioned in the criminal complaint against Pimintel includes tributes to well-known al Qaeda figures and other jihadist leaders.

Its introduction ends: "May Allah bless all the Muslims, may he give us victory over the disbelieving people, and may he guide all those non Muslims, who visit this site to Islam."

A YouTube channel (mujahidfisabillilah1's channel) that links to the website describes its owner as "a Sunni Muslim BROTHER [sic] from the Dominican Republic currently living in Harlem, New York. Allah has guided me out of darkness and into the light."

Pimentel was in touch and interacting with other Islamist radicals online and was aware of Revolution Muslim, a New York-based group sympathetic to the aims of al Qaeda, but was "not directly connected" to them, the official said.

Many apparantly like-minded individuals posted messages on his YouTube site in the last several months. A message posted on the site one day ago stated: "May Allah Reward you for all your efforts and hard work. Ameen."

Counterterrorism officials became alarmed about Pimentel's activities in September, when they "received indications that the suspect was going operational."

That was before al-Awlaki was killed.

In October, officials say, Pimentel's activities began to accelerate, when he began to acquire simple bomb-making materials. They say he began building his bomb in the apartment of the informant, rather than at his home, where he lived with his mother and grandmother.
More info about that horrific man here and here. But most disturbing is the news that the FBI refused to help investigate Pimentel (also via Jihad Watch):
The FBI did not pursue a case against an alleged al-Qaida sympathiser accused of plotting to blow up police and military personnel because it believed he was mentally unstable and incapable of pulling it off, officials said on Monday.

Investigators from the New York Police Department, which announced the arrest of Dominican-born US citizen Jose Pimentel, 27, at a press conference late on Sunday night, sought to involve the FBI at least twice.

But both times the FBI concluded he wasn't a serious threat, according to officials who spoke to the Associated Press.

Pimentel "didn't have the predisposition or the ability to do anything on his own," said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity....

On a YouTube channel linked to him, Pimentel – who also goes by the name Muhammad Yusaf – he describes himself as a "Sunni Muslim brother" from the Dominican Republic living in Harlem, whose interests include "watching videos of YouTube, working out, reading and learning all aspects of the only true religion of all the prophets: Islam."
This is most extremely troubling, because what if Pimentel had succeeded in his plot? The FBI has a lot of explaining to do about why they neglected their duty to keep an eye on such a vicious character.

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