Statement of Facts in Al Qaeda Member Case

The following is the statement of facts in the case of against admitted al Qaeda member Iyman Faris. It comes from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia because as part of his plea Faris waived venue for the trial.

A Justice Department official told ABCNEWS the government chose to bring the case in Virginia since other terrorism prosecutions have taken place there, such as the cases of John Walker Lindh and Zacarias Moussaoui, not because of any plans for an attack on the Washington, D.C., area.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. IYMAN FARIS, a/k/a Mohammad Rauf, Defendant.

CRIMINAL NO. 03-189-A

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Should this matter proceed to trial, the United States would prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The defendant, Iyman Faris, a/k/a Mohammed Rauf, was born in Kashmir on June 4, 1969. The defendant entered the United States in May 1994 and became a United States citizen in December 1999. Defendant has been employed as an independent truck driver for several years.

2. In late 2000, the defendant traveled with a long-time friend, hereafter referred to as conspirator-1 (C-1), from Pakistan to Afghanistan. (The defendant has known C-1 since the Soviet/Afghanistan war in the mid-1980's and has maintained a friendly relationship with him since that time.) After arriving in Afghanistan with C-1, the defendant was introduced to Osama bin Laden at an al Qaeda training camp. The camp had numerous tents and buildings, and there were several men present who wore black scarves and carried weapons. Since at least this meeting, the defendant knew that Osama bin Laden and C-1 were senior leaders in al Qaeda. The defendant understands C-1 to be Osama bin Laden's "right foot" — a man who serves a critical leadership role in providing supplies and materials needed by al Qaeda.

3. During this meeting in late 2000, one of Osama bin Laden's men asked the defendant about "ultralight" airplanes. Al Qaeda was looking to procure an "escape airplane." The defendant responded that he too was interested in ultralights, and he was asked to obtain information concerning ultralights. The defendant had previously taken a gyro-copter simulator flight in the United States. The defendant indicated that information about ultralights was available on the internet. Approximately two months later, the defendant performed a computer search at an internet café in Karachi, Pakistan, and obtained information concerning ultralights. The defendant provided a hard copy of this information to C-1 knowing that he was providing this information for use by al Qaeda.

4. On another occasion in late 2000 or early 2001, the defendant accompanied C-1 to a factory where they ordered 2,000 lightweight sleeping bags that were shipped to Afghanistan for use by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

5. While in Karachi, Pakistan, in late December 2001, C-1 asked the defendant to visit a travel agency on his behalf and obtain extensions on several airline tickets. As the defendant well knew, these tickets were for use by members of al Qaeda. To accomplish this task, the defendant dressed in disguise as a member of Tablighi Jamaat. There were five or six tickets in total, and each was for travel to Yemen. The defendant obtained the requested extensions for C-1.

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