The U.S. Department of Justice announced the charges Tuesday against Alaa Mohd Abusaad. The joint announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, Northern District of Alabama U.S Attorney Jay E. Town and Birmingham FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.
A young woman has been charged by federal authorities in Birmingham with attempting to provide support and resources to terrorist organization al Qaeda.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced the charges Tuesday against 22-year-old Alaa Mohd Abusaad. The joint announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, Northern District of Alabama U.S Attorney Jay E. Town and Birmingham FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.
Abusaad, who had been living in Tuscaloosa, was taken into custody Tuesday in Ohio. According to authorities, Abusaad instructed a female undercover FBI informant how to send money to the mujahedeen – fighters engaged in jihad – saying money was always needed. “You can’t have a war without weapons,’’ Abusaad told the informant. “You can’t prepare a soldier without equipment.”
Federal records said the investigation began in February when Abusaad was introduced to the informant by another person. At that point, according to the criminal complaint, Abusaad and the informant began communicating through a mobile messaging app.
The communication between the two continued through at least April, during which time authorities say Abusaad advised the informant on how to send money in a manner that would avoid detection by law enforcement, including by using fake names and addresses when conducting electronic money transfers. Subsequently, Abusaad introduced the informant to a financial facilitator who could route the informant’s money to “brothers that work with aq” (meaning al Qaeda)” the complaint stated.
In April, the informant wired $50 through Western Union to Mustafa Yelatan in Turkey. After the transaction, records state, Abusaad told the informant, “And remember they can’t do anything to you. You were completely covered. May Allah protect you. And plus it’s a fake…Just be confident and don’t stress.”
The investigation was carried out by FBI agents in Birmingham as well as Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Cornelius and Manu Balachandran, and trial attorney Jennifer Levy of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
If convicted, Abusaad faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to a life term of supervised release.
Read the complaint, that most media outlets didn’t do because it indicates that the perpetrator is a Muslim woman, not a man as most headlines read, here: abusaad-complaint.pdf.