June 23, 2011 — -- This story has been updated.
Two men who converted to Islam have been arrested and charged by federal authorities with plotting a Ft. Hood-style assault on a Seattle military installation in which they could kill military personnel and then either escape or die as "martyrs."
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, born Joseph Anthony Davis, and Walli Mujahidh, born Frederick Domingue Jr., are accused of planning to attack the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle with grenades and machine guns on July 5. Abdul-Latif, 33, and Mujahidh, 32, allegedly purchased machine guns from undercover agents to use in the assault. Their alleged objective was to deter further American military action in Islamic countries.
The defendants allegedly planned to attack Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a sprawling Army and Air Force installation south of Seattle that houses almost 20,000 military personnel and family members, but then changed targets. The Military Entrance Processing Station on East Marginal Way in Seattle is where enlistees report.
Abdul-Latif referred admiringly to the 2009 Fort Hood massacre, according to a confidential informant who is quoted in the criminal complaint filed Thursday. Abdul-Latif allegedly said that "if one person could kill so many people, three attackers could kill many more" and that if he was killed in his own attack, his son would be proud he had fought the "non-believers."
Abdul-Latif allegedly told Mujahidh that his role would be driving a "truck that looks like the Titanic" through the "front gate" of the target location, and that he wanted to use fragmentation grenades in the facility's cafeteria because they would deter pursuers while also killing and maiming. He also allegedly said that he hoped his attack would inspire others. "Imagine how many young Muslims, if we're successful, will try to hit these kinds of centers. Imagine how fearful America will be."
According to the confidential source, Abdul Latif ultimately gave him $800 for two automatic weapons, and then discussed getting pistols as well. "If we gonna die," Abdul-Latif allegedly said, "we gotta die taking some kafifirs with us. I'm not trying to run out of ammunition."
According to the criminal complaint, Mujahidh traveled to Seattle by bus from Los Angeles, arriving on June 21. He allegedly told the informant that he had told a couple of "brothers" in L.A. that he was going on jihad, and gave his motive for the attack. "This is my way of getting rid of sins. ... I got so many of 'em." He described an imaginary headline on a newspaper after he, the informant and Abdul-Latif carried out the attack: "Three Muslim Males Walk Into MEPS Building, Seattle, Washington, And Gun Down Everybody."
"That's what it's going to come down to," Mujahidh allegedly said, "because if they surround the building, the only way out is through them ... and guns blazing man, guns blazing. ... We're not walking out of there alive."
"We're not only tryingto kill people," the complaint quotes Abdul-Latif as saying, "We're tying to send a message. We're trying to get something that's gonna be on CNN and all over the world."
Both Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh were arrested Wednesday evening at a Seattle warehouse when they allegedly went to pick up the weapons they had purchased.
According to officials, both men were monitored and their weapons rendered inoperable so that they posed no danger to the public.
FBI: Mujahidh Said He Wanted to Die a Martyr
According to the complaint, Mujahidh admitted to FBI agents that he had planned to carry out the attack, and said he wanted to die a martyr. He allegedly said the purpose of the attack was to kill U.S. military personnel so they could not be deployed to Islamic lands.
"The complaint alleges these men intended to carry out a deadly attack against our military where they should be most safe, here at home," said United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "This is a sobering reminder of our need to be vigilant and that our first line of defense is the people who live in our community. We were able to disrupt the plot because someone stepped forward and reported it to authorities. I commend the joint efforts of the FBI, the Seattle Police Department, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force who quickly recognized the seriousness of the threat and ensured the safety of the community."
According to officials, both suspects were believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison. Court documents, however, show no record of felony convictions for Mujahihd and do not specify where the men met or when they converted.
Officials say Abdul-Latif served briefly in the U.S. Navy in 1995 and has at least two felony convictions: robbery in the first degree in 2002 and assault a year later while serving time in Washington state for the robbery.