The five American terror suspects arrested in Pakistan , where they allegedly sought training for jihad, may have had more ambition than actual ability, sources tell ABC News. Pakistani police say the men attempted to join several terror groups but were turned down, partly because they were foreigners and had no local references.
"They wanted to join jihad but didn't know the meaning of jihad," the Sargodha deputy chief of police told ABC News. He said two Pakistani terror groups -- Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Muhammed, in Karachi and Lahore respectively -- rejected the men.
An attorney representing the families of the five men said the families don't believe the men are guilty of what the Pakistani authorities allege.
"The families have been cooperating very closely with the FBI since they discovered that the young men were missing," said Nina Ginsberg. "They are extremely worried about the safety of their sons and do not believe that they could have been involved in the kind of activities currently being reported by Pakistani officials. Their only concern is that their sons be safely returned to the United States and they continue to look to the FBI and the State Department for assistance in securing their release."
The youths arrested by Pakistani police for allegedly attempting to link up with militants have recently been interviewed by the State Department and FBI officials. The five men, all from the Washington, D.C. area, have been identified as Ramy Zamzam, Umar Farooq, Waqar Khan, Ahmad Mini, and Aman Hassan Yemer. Pakistani authorities also arrested Farooq's father Khalid, but it was unclear Thursday if he was still being detained by police.
On Thursday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, "At this point, we are in an information-gathering phase. But we have met with them. We are working closely with Pakistani authorities on this case. And I would expect in the next 24 hours we'd have further visits with these individuals, including a visit from consular officials."
Pakistani authorities were claiming in interviews that Khalid Farooq had links with Jaish-e-Muhammed but U.S. counterterrorism and FBI sources were not able to verify those claims.
The men had been the subjects of an FBI search initiated on December 1 after their families reported them missing and alerted authorities to a disturbing video they left behind. According to officials briefed on the 11 minute video, which is in the possession of the FBI, the video includes statements from one of the men believed to be Zamzam and shows U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan and shows U.S. casualties. Two sources confirm the video file was saved under the name "finalmessage" but officials say the video is not a martyrdom style video but appears to be an attempted at internet propaganda.
Nihad Awad with the Council on American Islamic Relations, a nonprofit Islamic advocacy group, said the video, which has not been made public, depicted scenes of war and radical calls for jihad. "I saw the video and I was disturbed by its content," Awad told reporters Wednesday. "One person appeared in that video and they made references to the ongoing conflict in the world and that young Muslims have to do something…We urged the families to contact the FBI."
American officials then notified Pakistani authorities because of concerns the young men may have been "radicalized" by Islamic militants.