Four Charged With Funneling Money To al-Qaeda

U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach (
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Federal prosecutors say four men with ties to Ohio have been charged with trying to send money to an al-Qaeda leader.

The indictment charges the men conspired to travel to Yemen to provide thousands of dollars to Anwar al-Awlaki, in an effort to support violence against U.S. soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

ideastream's Tony Ganzer spoke with U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven Dettelbach who explained the significance of today's actions:

DETTELBACH: “The lifeblood of these terrorist organizations is money, and what these four individuals are charged with doing is actually sending tens of thousands of dollars to Anwar al-Awlaki, who at the time was known as one of the most dangerous and violent jihadists in the world.  He was one of the senior people at al-Qaeda on the Arabian Penninsula.”

GANZER: “And all four of these individuals were students in the U.S., is that right?”

DETTELBACH: “At various times they studied, and were students, they worked, they had normal jobs, and they also spent a tremendous amount of time, as the indictment shows, communicating with each other about how to commit violent jihad.  And you’ll see, that there was just a whole recipe of different things that they were going to do, from fraud, to sending money.  And they actually went through with it. They shipped tens of thousands of dollars, according to the charges, to a known terrorist.”

DETTELBACH: “You know the timing of this is also disturbing, which is: the money was allegedly delivered to Mr. al-Awlaki’s associate very shortly before some very serious actions, including the attempted bombing of the flight on Christmas Day of 2009 that was trying to land into Detroit airport, where clearly hundreds of people were at risk. That’s another thing to keep in mind, about the fact that supporting terrorists and sending this money, can have real consequences.”

GANZER: “And so far two of these individuals are in custody?”

DETTELBACH: “Two of these individuals were arrested today in the United States, and I don’t want to comment on the status of the other two because those things are on-going.”

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