February 20, 2009

Afghan National Arrested in CA for Ties to al Qaeda [UPDATED & BUMPED: Brother-in-law of bin Laden Security Chief]

*** BUMPED *** Updates at end of post ***

Actually, he wasn't arrested for his ties to al Qaeda. He is being indicted for lying to immigration officers. The lie?

He said he had no relationship with al Qaeda, Hizb-i-Islami and the Taliban.

There are lies on visa and passport applications, and then there are lies.

What this probably means is that the feds have been watching his activities for some time hoping to establish a deeper connection, but they instead went for the low-hanging fruit and indicted him on the easiest thing to prove:

The indictment, unsealed this morning, alleges [34 year old Ahmadullah Sais] Niazi hid associations with "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," groups including Al Qaeda, Hizb-i-Islami and the Taliban, when he completed nationalization papers five years ago. During one visit, the government alleges Niazi visited Dr. Amin al-Haq, the security coordinator for Osama bin Laden.

Charges against Niazi include perjury, naturalization fraud, misuse of a passport obtained by fraud and making a false statement to a federal agency. He is scheduled to make a court appearance this afternoon at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana.

Great. I'm sure he and bin Laden's security coordinator were just chatting about the impact of global warming on the Khyber Pass.

I'll also note that he was arrested by FBI agents on the counter terrorism task force, not ICE officials.

I did a little Googling, and there's an Ahmadullah Niazi in Orange County -- the county just south of LA that the Niazi in the story lives in -- that has a company in Tustin called "T & A Trading Group". The contact is "Ahmad Niazi". Niazi's company apparently in the wholesale computer and electronics business.

Hmmmm, I seem to remember another Orange County computer geek with an affinity for the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Would be the same "Ahmed" Niazi cited in this article which notes that he's 33 and lives in Orange County. Which would be odd if it is because the story goes on to cite Niazi as being shocked by a friend who had converted to Islam wanting help joining the jihad. The article implies that Niazi testified against the friend.

Both "Ahmed" and "Niazi" are fairly common names, so maybe it's a different person here. Especially given that the man under indictment is from Afghanistan, and the Niazi above taught Arabic.

If any one finds any other information about Niazi, please drop me a line.

UPDATE: I just got a note from Andy Cochran who points me to a PDF of the federal indictment.

I'll post the entire indictment below as text. I'll work on the formatting of it as I read it. Then I'll post some highlights above the text as I work my way through it.

First, for those of you trying to find more info on this guy the indictment says he has a few variation on his name.

AHMADULLAH SAIS NIAZI,
aka Ahmadullah Khan,
aka Ahmadullah Sais,
aka Ahmadullah Sais Khan,
aka Ahmadullah Khan Sais

UPDATED Highlights from indictment: There are five counts in the indictment, each relating to a specific time in which Niazi lied either to an immigration official or on an immigration form.

If I'm getting this right, all of the criminal charges relate to two things. First, that Niazi had been associated with al Qaeda before he came to the US and began naturalization. Second, that after Niazi was living in the US that he traveled to Pakistan where he had contact with al Qaeda figures.

The main person Niazi had contact with was Dr. Amin al-Haq, the security coordinator for Osama bin Laden. What is interesting about this is the wording of count five in the indictment which implies that Niazi is related to al-Haq:

In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he had
traveled to Pakistan to visit family, including Dr. Amin al-Haq.
This would be a major problem, wouldn't it? Even if we assume that Niazi is not some kind of sleeper agent, then wouldn't failure to disclose that he was related to a top al Qaeda terrorist be serious?

But the rest of the indictment does seem to indicate that Niazi lied not only about his relationship with known al Qaeda members, but also that he was associated with the group.

UPDATE: Bingo! His sister, Hafiza, is married to Amin al-Haq, bin Laden's bodyguard! A man who may or may not be dead.

Here's the indictment.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN DIVISION

October 2008 Grand Jury

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff,
v.
AHMADULLAH SAIS NIAZI,
aka Ahmadullah Khan,
aka Ahmadullah Sais,
aka Ahmadullah Sais
Khan,
aka Ahmadullah Khan
Sais,
Defendant.

No. SA CR-_______________
I N D I C T M E N T
[18 U.S.C. § 1621(2): Perjury;
18 U.S.C. § 1425: Procurement
of Naturalization Unlawfully;
18 U.S.C. § 1546(a): Use of
Passport Procured by Fraud; 18
U.S.C. § 1001(a): False
Statement]
_____________________________)
The Grand Jury charges:


COUNT ONE
[18 U.S.C. § 1621(2)]

A. INTRODUCTION

1. Dr. Amin al-Haq, aka Dr. Amin ul-Haq, aka Muhammad Amin (“Dr. Amin al-Haq”), security coordinator for Usama bin Laden, was designated by the United Nations Security Council as an individual associated with al-Qaeda and Usama bin Laden on or about March 8, 2001. On or about October 12, 2001, the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Dr. Amin al-Haq as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, pursuant to Executive Order 13224. These designations continue in effect.

2. Al-Qaeda was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the Secretary of State on or about October 8, 1999, pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This designation continues in effect. Usama bin Laden has proclaimed publicly that he is the leader of al-Qaeda and that the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States was an al-Qaeda operation.

3. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is the founder of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (“HIG”), a terrorist organization. On or about February 18, 2003, the State Department and the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Gulbuddin Hekmatyar a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, pursuant to Executive Order 13224, for his participation in and support of terrorist acts carried out by al-Qaeda and the Taliban. On or about February 20, 2003, the United Nations Security Council designated Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as an individual associated with al-Qaeda. These designations continue in effect.

B. THE OFFENSE

4. On or about February 24, 2004, in Orange County, within the Central District of California, and elsewhere, defendant AHMADULLAH SAIS NIAZI, aka Ahmadullah Khan, aka Ahmadullah Sais, Ahmadullah Sais Khan, aka Ahmadullah Khan Sais (“NIAZI”), in a declaration, certificate, and statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under Section 1746 of Title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribed as true material matter which defendant NIAZI did not believe to be true. Specifically, on his naturalization application, defendant NIAZI certified under penalty of perjury that (1) he had never used a name other than Ahmadullah Sais; (2) he had never been a member of or associated with any organization, association, fund, foundation, party, club, society, or similar group in the United States or in any other place; and (3) he had never been a member of or in any way associated, either directly or indirectly, with a terrorist organization.

In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he had used the name Ahmadullah Khan, among others. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he was associated with one or more groups in Afghanistan and/or
Pakistan. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he was associated in any way with one or more terrorist organizations, namely, al-Qaeda, HIG, and/or the Taliban.

COUNT TWO
[18 U.S.C. § 1621(2)]

On or about October 1, 2004, in Los Angeles County, within the Central District of California, and elsewhere, defendant AHMADULLAH SAIS NIAZI, aka Ahmadullah Khan, aka Ahmadullah Sais, Ahmadullah Sais Khan, aka Ahmadullah Khan Sais (“NIAZI”), in a declaration, certificate, and statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under Section 1746 of Title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribed as true a material matter which defendant
NIAZI did not believe to be true. Specifically, on his naturalization application, defendant NIAZI certified under penalty of perjury that he had not taken a trip of 24 hours or more outside of the United States since on or about February 24,
2004. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he traveled outside the United States to Pakistan on or about May 21, 2004, and returned to the United States on or about June 4, 2004.

COUNT THREE

[18 U.S.C. § 1425]

A. INTRODUCTION

1. Dr. Amin al-Haq, aka Dr. Amin ul-Haq, aka Muhammad Amin (“Dr. Amin al-Haq”), security coordinator for Usama bin Laden, was designated by the United Nations Security Council as anindividual associated with al-Qaeda and Usama bin Laden on or about March 8, 2001. On or about October 12, 2001, the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Dr. Amin al-Haq as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, pursuant to Executive Order 13224. These designations continue in effect.

2. Al-Qaeda was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the Secretary of State on or about October 8, 1999, pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This designation continues in effect. Usama bin Laden has proclaimed publicly that he is the leader of al-Qaeda and that the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States was an al-Qaeda operation.

3. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is the founder of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (“HIG”), a terrorist organization. On or about February 18, 2003, the State Department and the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Gulbuddin Hekmatyar a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, pursuant to
Executive Order 13224, for his participation in and support of terrorist acts carried out by al-Qaeda and the Taliban. On or about February 20, 2003, the United Nations Security Council designated Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as an individual associated with al-Qaeda. These designations continue in effect.

B. THE OFFENSE

4. From on or about February 24, 2004, through on or about November 5, 2004, in Orange County, within the Central District of California, and elsewhere, defendant AHMADULLAH SAIS NIAZI, aka Ahmadullah Khan, aka Ahmadullah Sais, Ahmadullah Sais Khan, aka Ahmadullah Khan Sais (“NIAZI”), knowingly procured for himself, contrary to law, naturalization as a United States citizen, to which he was not entitled. Defendant NIAZI knowingly procured naturalization for himself contrary to law by making, in connection with his naturalization application, material false statements under penalty of perjury, including that (1) defendant NAIZI had never used a name other than Ahmadullah Sais; (2) he had never been a member of or associated with any organization, association, fund, foundation, party, club, society, or similar
group in the United States or in any other place; (3) he had never been a member of or in any way associated, either directly or indirectly, with a terrorist organization; (4) he had not taken a trip of 24 hours or more outside of the United States since on or about February 24, 2004; and (5) he had never given false or misleading information to any U.S. government official while applying for any immigration benefit. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he had used the name Ahmadullah Khan, among others. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he was associated with one or more groups in Afghanistan and/or Pakistan. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he was associated in any way with one or more terrorist organizations, namely, al-Qaeda, HIG, and/or the Taliban. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he traveled outside the United States to Pakistan on or about May 21, 2004, and returned to the United
States on or about June 4, 2004. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he had given false and misleading information to a U. S. government official while applying for permanent residency status when he certified under penalty of perjury that he had no present or past membership in or affiliation with any political organization, association, fund, foundation, party, club, society, or similar group in the United States or in any other place, including any foreign military service, since his 16th birthday. Defendant NIAZI knowingly
procured naturalization for himself to which he was not entitled by applying for, and obtaining, naturalization when, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he was not entitled to naturalization as a United States citizen because he had obtained his permanent residency status by fraud and because he willfully provided false
statements under penalty of perjury in connection with his naturalization application.

COUNT FOUR
U.S.C. § 1546(a)]

From on or about February 8, 2005, through on or about February 19, 2005, in Los Angeles County, within the Central District of California, and elsewhere, defendant AHMADULLAH SAIS NIAZI, aka Ahmadullah Khan, aka Ahmadullah Sais, Ahmadullah Sais Khan, aka Ahmadullah Khan Sais (“NIAZI”), knowingly used and possessed a document prescribed by statute and regulation for entry into and as evidence of authorized stay and employment in the United States, that is, a United States passport, knowing it to have been procured by means of a false claim and statement, and to have been otherwise procured by fraud and unlawfully obtained. Specifically, defendant NIAZI used his United States passport to travel to Pakistan through Los Angeles International Airport.

COUNT FIVE

[18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)]

A. INTRODUCTION

1. Dr. Amin al-Haq, aka Dr. Amin ul-Haq, aka Muhammad Amin (“Dr. Amin al-Haq”), security coordinator for Usama bin Laden, was designated by the United Nations Security Council as an individual associated with al-Qaeda and Usama bin Laden on or about March 8, 2001. On or about October 12, 2001, the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Dr. Amin al-Haq as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, pursuant to Executive Order 13224. These designations continue in effect.

B. THE OFFENSE

2. On or about February 19, 2005, in Los Angeles County, within the Central District of California, and elsewhere, defendant AHMADULLAH SAIS NIAZI, aka Ahmadullah Khan, aka Ahmadullah Sais, Ahmadullah Sais Khan, aka Ahmadullah Khan Sais (“NIAZI”), in a matter within the jurisdiction of Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security of the United States, knowingly and willfully made a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation, in that defendant NIAZI stated, upon his return from foreign travel, that he had traveled to Qatar for one week to visit his family. In truth and in fact, as defendant NIAZI then well knew, he had
traveled to Pakistan to visit family, including Dr. Amin al-Haq.

A TRUE BILL
Foreperson
THOMAS P. O’BRIEN
United States Attorney
CHRISTINE C. EWELL
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, Criminal Division
ROBB C. ADKINS
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, Southern Division
EILEEN M. DECKER
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, National Security Section
DEIRDRE Z. ELIOT
Assistant United States Attorney
National Security Section

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:24 PM | Comments |