November 11, 2013

North Carolina Man Arrested, Tried to Join al Qaeda Affiliate in Syria


His name is Basit Javed Sheikh, he's 29, was born in Pakistan, but is a permaneant resident and now he lives in a suburb of Raleigh, NC. On Facebook he used the handle "Abdul Basit" where he decided to chat up an undercover FBI agent:

Basit Javed Sheikh, of Cary, is suspected by the FBI of trying to provide support to al-Nusrah Front in the Syrian Civil War. His father, Javed Sheikh, on Monday said there “is no truth in that,” referring to the federal allegations. Basit Sheikh was being held by Wake County authorities on Monday, according to county records.

Law-enforcement intercepted Basit Sheikh on Nov. 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, an FBI affidavit states. He had told a confidential FBI source that he wanted to join the jihad, or holy struggle, in Syria, according to an agent’s affidavit. He said in August that he had secured a job “with a brigade in logistics, managing medical supplies,” the document states.

This wasn't the first time Basit went to Syria. He was already there last year with the Free Syrian Army, but apparently they weren't jihadi enough for him. He came home disappointed, then tried to go to Syria yet once more. He had a ticket to Turkey but for some reason never showed up at the airport. That's when he hooked up online with someone from al-Nusrah (a Syian al Qaeda affiliate) but who was really FBI. This guy apparently thought he was pretty hardcore.

The affidavit is here (note:it's the worst PDF of a federal complaint I've ever seen).

In it we learn that Basit was a serial Facebook user, who got kicked off the platform no less than seven times. All of the accounts listed in the affidavit are now defunct.

Except maybe this one which belongs to an "Abdul Basit II" (another handle used by Basit says the complaint), frequently posts jihadi material, and which mysteriously stops on Nov. 2, the day Basit was arrested.

So, yeah, I'm pretty sure this is his Facebook account. Let's look at it, shall we?

There's really too much to post about here. I mean, this guy spent a lot of time of Facebook. But I think this image pretty much sums up what this guy was all about, who his heroes were, and who he wanted to become. From a Nov. 2 post.

facebook image basit javed sheikh.jpg

The question on everyone's mind here is if he had an online relationship with Samir Khan or one of the other seven jihadis in federal prison for the Quantico plot? I can't say at this point, but I will chime in that some evidence suggests that he and Khan hung in the same social circles online.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:56 PM | Comments |