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Retired FBI agent: Terror suspects' arrests significant

Posted July 28, 2009
Updated July 29, 2009

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— The case against eight Wake County men charged in an alleged terror plot overseas had to be significant if a federal grand jury chose to indict the suspects.

"Obviously, this is a case that was specific, credible, and as we read in the indictment, quite coherent in that it's prosecutable and appears to be going that route," retired FBI special agent Frank Perry said Tuesday.

Terror arrests significant, ex-FBI agent says Terror arrests significant, ex-FBI agent says

Perry, a 22-year veteran of the FBI who headed the agency's Raleigh bureau for four years, until 2004, said there are dozens, if not hundreds, of similar cases nationwide that do not lead to indictments and do not make headlines.

"It's very difficult, because no one talks. It's not the sort of case where you have individuals who may be loyal to the American constitution," he said. "These individuals are motivated out of conscience to work against the government. Therefore, there is no propensity to help the government."

Authorities would not disclose how they learned of the alleged conspiracy that led to Monday's arrests, but a federal indictment indicated it had been under investigation for years.

According to the document, Daniel Patrick Boyd and seven other men, including his two sons, worked to provide resources to terrorists and planned acts of violence overseas over the last three years.

Seven suspects were arrested Monday; an eighth man is still being sought.

Terrorism links not new to N.C.

The case is not the first with North Carolina ties to make headlines.

Steve Emerson, author of "American Jihad," and one of the foremost experts on terrorism, has called the state a "hot bed" for terrorist activity.

Harvey Kushner, who wrote "Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terror Network in the United States," cites three cases that helped build a network of Islamic extremism in the U.S.

In a large-scale cigarette-trafficking case, a federal jury in Charlotte convicted Mohamad Hammoud and his brother in 2002 of supporting Hezbollah. Hammoud, who laundered nearly $8 million from cigarette sales, is serving a 155-year prison sentence.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man the 9/11 Commission Report called "the principal architect" of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, attended North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro in the 1980s, along with another terrorism suspect, who has since been deported.

That suspect is the brother-in-law of Sami Al-Arian, a former North Carolina State University professor, who in 2006, was sent to federal prison for supporting a group with ties to Hezbollah.

Al-Arian admitted to providing support to a U.S.-based terrorism group as part of a plea deal to avoid life in prison.

Documents later found at his home included an organizational plan for terrorism in the U.S. and a map with several cities highlighted, including Raleigh.

"North Carolina is not an unimportant place in this country," Perry said. "(There are) significant military bases here, many universities here which attract a wide range of people who come in for the purpose of study, and those universities attract people from across the country and the world."

The emphasis on investigating terrorism tips in North Carolina, he said is a direct result of information gathered after the Sept. 11 attacks. He could not elaborate but said some working with 9/11 hijackers had looked at other potential targets in North Carolina and Virginia.

"Immediately after 9/11, the U.S. intelligence community learned there were some pre-9/11 preparations going on here – not so much the planning, but logistical support we learned about," he said. "So there is some precedent for this sort of case here in the Triangle."

It is also because of those attacks, Perry added, that more cases of suspected terrorism are being investigated than before. Prior to Sept. 11, he said, counterterrorism was not a major priority for the FBI.

"Counterterrorism was always up there, but it's now No. 1, and everything else is simply beneath it," he said.

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  • john283594 Jul 29, 2009

    ^As the husband of someone suffering with cancer, I can't believe that you would relate this story to that terrible disease. I hope you never have to go through it...

  • rushbot Jul 29, 2009

    Radiation kills cancer. Lead introduced into the chest or cranium at high velocity will also kill cancer.

  • Common Man 1964 Jul 29, 2009

    The story mentions the point that in the case of most US home bred terrorists and/or those within our borders, if not all, their loyalty to the US constitution, if any, comes behind that of their religious fanatacism; whatever religion - I would cite Eric Rudolph as a non-Muslim example.

    Yet, I found it disturbing to hear Mr. Boyd's wife on WRAL this morning using the constitutional right to bear arms as an excuse to maintain an arsenal with links to terrorism abroad.

    While I respect that right, if after the wheels of justice turn and Boyd is found guilty of the charges in the indictment, then have the courage to stand up for those convictions and tell the truth about it rather than cower behind the very document which lays the foundation for a society that most muslim extremeists despise; one which is tolerant of all religions, endowed with freedom, and equal for all of its citizens.

    We are not perfect, but at least we're headed in the right direction.

  • original intent Jul 29, 2009

    true..dwf.....We deserve neither and will probably lose BOTH!!.and James Madison said:"IF TYRANNY & OPRESSION EVER COME TO THIS NATION,IT WILL BE IN THE FORM OF FIGHTING A FOREIGN
    ENEMY"...There are tons a documented evidence of the FBI creating racists,anti gov, hate,ETC groups using their COINTELPRO operations...Remember Lincoln said "United we stand,Divided we fall"...and later he was killed and the FEDS have done their duty to keep us divided along racial,political,financial,etc lines ever since,,,that way we don;t have the power to stand up to them...Will the sheep ever wake up? I still say Boyd is a FED....

  • dwf1205 Jul 29, 2009

    Warrant-less wiretaps and secret courts...how much you want to bet this kind of Unconstitutional behavior played some part in this indictment? What did Ben Franklin say about trading liberty for safety?

  • john283594 Jul 29, 2009

    "said there are dozens, if not hundreds, of similar cases nationwide that do not lead to indictments and do not make headlines."

    Yes, anyone who has studied Islam or entered a Mosque is a suspect for some people...

  • gvmntcheese Jul 29, 2009

    Spin, Spin and more Spin! Getting dizzy yet???