A suspect originally accused of plotting to attack shopping malls four years ago has pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists.
Somali national Nuradin Abdi is an associate of Iyman Faris, who was tasked by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge.
Abdi and Faris allegedly discussed targeting malls in the Midwest and attacking landmarks in Washington, D.C., with missiles.
Faris became a government informant against Abdi after pleading guilty several years ago to providing material support to al Qaeda.
In a 2004 press conference announcing Abdi's arrest, John Ashcroft, who was attorney general at the time, said, "The American heartland was targeted for death and destruction."
According to the plea agreement, Abdi first entered the United States in 1995 using a false passport. He illegally entered the states again in 1997 from Canada. Abdi was later granted asylum in this country based on a series of false statements.
He became friends with al Qaeda operatives Faris and Christopher Paul in Ohio, according to the U.S. government.
"Christopher Paul was later arrested and indicted in April 2007 on charges of providing material support, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) in the southern district of Ohio," read government records.
Faris was later convicted of providing material support and conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda. He is currently serving a 20-year prison term.
Investigators said that in 1999, Abdi began preparing for violent jihad, traveling to Chechnya, Kenya and Somalia. He returned to the United States in March 2000.
According to the statement of facts, Abdi told FBI agents that in August 2002, he proposed a plot to bomb a shopping mall. Abdi was later provided with CDs containing instructions on how to make explosives.
In December 2002, Faris described to Abdi a potential plot to launch missile attacks against various landmarks in Washington, D.C.
Shortly after these discussions, Faris was taken into custody and began making statements to the FBI. Federal agents arrested Abdi Nov. 28, 2003.
Abdi subsequently agreed to be interviewed by FBI agents and admitted to conspiring with Faris, Paul and others to provide material support to foreign terrorists.
These admissions by Abdi have been corroborated in a variety of ways, including bank records, travel records, invoices and items seized in search warrants.
The guilty plea could land Abdi in jail for 10 years.