Justice Department officials indicted the Tunisian man who radicalized the al Qaeda-linked terrorists who plotted to bomb a train in Canada after he fraudulently applied for a work visa to stay in the United States and plan other attacks.
“As alleged, Ahmed Abassi had an evil purpose for seeking to remain in the United States — to commit acts of terror and develop a network of terrorists here, and to use this country as a base to support the efforts of terrorists internationally,” U.S. Attorney Preet Baharrra said in a statement Thursday. “Thanks to the extraordinary vigilance of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners, Abassi has been thwarted and is being prosecuted for his alleged crimes. Protecting the residents of the Southern District, and all Americans, from terrorists is the number one priority of this office.”
Abassi had a network of associates with whom he hoped to carry out terrorist attacks after obtaining the work visa, but one of them was an undercover FBI agent.
“In reality, Abassi made clear that he wanted to obtain immigration documents and to remain in the United States so that he could engage in ‘projects’ relating to future terrorist activities, including recruitment,” DOJ says. “Thereafter, Abassi made false statements on two immigration forms, under penalty of perjury, and subsequently mailed those forms to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for processing.”
He had a bit more success north of the border, where DOJ says he succeeded in radicalizing the two men who attempted to derail a passenger train from New York to Toronto. Canadian law enforcement has previously stated that those men also worked with al Qaeda operatives based in Iran.
“It’s the first time we have a situation where there’s support or direction being provided from al Qaeda or al Qaeda associates,” one law enforcement source told The Star.