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Connecting dots key to proving terror case

Posted July 30, 2009

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— The 14-page federal indictment that accuses eight men of plotting terrorist activities overseas includes references to seemingly innocuous activities like foreign travel and meeting friends.

A former federal prosecutor says the way authorities assemble the pieces of the puzzle and put those activities in context will determine whether they can prove in court the allegations that the men wanted to wage "violent jihad."

Terrorism indictment, criminal conspiracy Prosecutors need to prove terror suspects' plans

Seven people were arrested Monday at various Triangle locations on charges that they sought to engage in terrorism in the Middle East and raised money, bought weapons and trained in North Carolina to carry out their plan.

Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, and his sons, Dylan Boyd, 22, and Zakariya "Zak" Boyd, 20, are expected to appear in federal court in Raleigh next Tuesday. Three others charged, Hysen Sherifi, 24, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, and Ziyad Yaghi, 21, also are expected to appear Tuesday for detention hearings.

A seventh defendant, Anes Subasic, 33, has requested a Yugoslavian interpreter for his court hearing, so it's unclear when that hearing will be held.

Federal authorities are seeking an unidentified eighth suspect in the case who is believed to be in Pakistan. A WRAL News source has identified the suspect as Jude Kenan Mohammad, 20, of Wake County.

The indictment doesn't spell out who authorities believe the men intended to kill. Instead, it cites activities as part of an organizing effort.

The charges against Daniel Boyd, the alleged ringleader of the operation, and the other suspects refer to buying guns and training in military tactics – acts that by themselves aren't criminal – as well as raising money and traveling abroad.

Kieran Shanahan, a Raleigh lawyer and former federal prosecutor, said the big challenge for the government will be proving what the men planned to do, not what they did.

"You and I can walk into a bank for legitimate purposes, and that's not a crime," Shanahan said by way of example. "If we walked into a bank for the purposes of casing it because we're going to come back and rob it, that would be an act in the furtherance of a conspiracy."

Electronic surveillance will play a key role in the case, he said. The U.S. Attorney's Office already has filed notices that it plans to use evidence gathered through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against each defendant. FISA sets out how intelligence on foreign agents in the U.S., including suspected terrorists, can be gathered.

"The government is going to have to tie these pieces together with circumstantial evidence or, more likely, some of the tape recordings that it appears they've got," he said.

Friends of the suspects and lawyers who have worked with them have questioned the charges against the men, saying none fits the profile of a terrorist. Local Muslim leaders have said they want more facts to come out about the criminal case against the men.

Daniel Boyd's older brother told The Associated Press on Thursday that charges are "ludicrous." Robert Boyd, who lives in Minnesota, called his brother "an upstanding young man" and said the indictment is "another attempt to associate Islam with terrorism."

Shanahan said proving the terror suspects' intent will be challenging for prosecutors since federal agents moved in before any violence was carried out.

Prosecutors will have an easier time convicting Daniel Boyd on charges he lied to U.S. customs agents when returning from Israel two years ago, he said.

"When you give false statements to a federal official, that's a separate crime," he said.


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  • wattsun Jul 31, 2009

    I admire you and few others trying to sell your points on the board but my friend its a losing battle. Trying to convince the general masses to question anything besides what the government and media is spoon feeding them is impossible.
    Sad as it is, Most people are comfortable keeping their head in the sand as long as it doesn't interfere with their favorite TV show.
    Of course always their rhetorical response is always the same,calling you paranoid or a conspiracy theorist.When they do not even know where the US capital is or quote one line from the constitution.
    The most ironic thing is this nation was founded by good people who would most definitely be considered by today's standards as terrorist.
    Government dissent is the most patriotic act you can practice.
    Our forefathers idea of America was not to let the government be your master. This is the direction we have been inching towards for decades. I predict that we will evidently lose it all before we wake up.

  • prn13norm Jul 31, 2009

    Now if we could just get them to arrest those in ACORN, The Black Panthers, and the Liberal Democratic tax cheats then we would be getting somewhere!

  • me2you Jul 31, 2009

    "Friends of the suspects and lawyers who have worked with them have questioned the charges against the men, saying none fits the profile of a terrorist".

    What IS the profile of a terrorist?

  • shortcake53 Jul 31, 2009

    Some of you just want to argue to see your name in print. I stand by my comments and send a big Thank You to law enforcement. Dont let all these paranoids take anything away from the work you put into keeping us all safe, even them. Kinda makes me wonder what they may be into that makes them so fearful .......... in any case, the rest of you have a nice day.

  • dbcooper41 Jul 31, 2009

    "If I stood on a streetcorner with a skirt up to by buttcheeks, a blouse opened down to my navel, and white go-go boots with fishnet stockings, LEO's just MIGHT think i was a prostitute, and with good reason."
    or they might think you're an undercover cop on a sting operation.
    which brings us back to my original theory.

  • MatrixEscapee Jul 31, 2009

    "common sense would go a long way... shortcake53"

    Finally, a statement we can agree upon!! :-)

  • shortcake53 Jul 31, 2009

    TG you have no clue what I base my opinions on, like I stated, common sense would go a long way............. your weak reply doesnt show much

  • MatrixEscapee Jul 31, 2009


    And your basis for judgement is being firmly decided based on what? Oh yeah... the "controlled" mainstream media...

  • shortcake53 Jul 31, 2009

    Wow, you are some seriously paranoid people. I feel sorry for you that you feel so threatened by this. If I stood on a streetcorner with a skirt up to by buttcheeks, a blouse opened down to my navel, and white go-go boots with fishnet stockings, LEO's just MIGHT think i was a prostitute, and with good reason. My appearance would have caused those suspicions. So therefore, i dont dress that way or act that way, so no negative attention is directed toward me. Same for these people, they caused negative attention to themselves and therefore now have to explaine themselves. Some common sense would go a long way here...............

  • SilverWolf Jul 31, 2009


    The authorities will do whatever they feel is necessary to keep a hold on the American people. That includes bring false charges on citizens, ruining lives, whatever they have to do, they will do. I can always tell when an undercover cop/agent is sniffing around because he is the one asking someone to do something illegal for him. Much like Randy Weaver who was hounded by the feds for six months prior to the FBI's murdering of his wife and son. The Gov. is full of low-life, freedom hating, power hungry, criminals. The Gov. nor any agent of the Gov. is our friend. The only thing they care about is their own self-interests. You would do well to remember that.