April 12, 2007 -- An Ohio man has been charged with supporting al Qaeda and planning terrorist attacks overseas.
According to a newly unsealed indictment, Christopher Paul, also known as Abdul Malek, traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the early 1990s to train for jihad. The indictment alleges Paul, a Columbus, Ohio, native, provided money and military training to radicals in Germany.
The indictment alleges that Paul "provided explosive training to co-conspirators in Germany in order to assist them in preparing to conduct attacks using explosives on targets in Europe and the United States."
The three-count indictment alleges that Paul and others wanted to attack tourist locations in Europe and targets in the U.S.
Sources tell ABC News Malek was an associate of convicted terrorists Iyman Farris and Nuradihn Abdi, who was charged for planning to blow up a Columbus-area shopping mall. Farris, a truck driver from Columbus, pleaded guilty in 2003 to plotting to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. According to officials, the three men conducted training in Burr Oak State Park in southeast Ohio.
The head of the Justice Department's national security division, Assistant Attorney General Ken Wainstein, said in a statement, "The indictment of Christopher Paul paints a disturbing picture of an American who traveled overseas to train as a violent jihadist, joined the ranks of al Qaeda, and provided military instruction and support to radical cohorts both here and abroad."
The indictment alleges that beginning in 1989, Paul provided material support to terrorists overseas. The indictment details activities of Paul and other co-conspirators since the 1990s, when al Qaeda recruited individuals for operations and trained thousands of mujahideen in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The indictment alleges that "In late 1990 or early 1991, while in Pakistan, defendant Paul stayed at the Beit Ul Ansar guest house located in Peshawar, Pakistan … a guest house affiliated with al Qaeda."
The indictment also notes that in the early 1990s, Paul met several key al Qaeda members, including a former personal pilot for Osama bin Laden, and Khalifah Lnu, who was responsible for organizing logistics to and from al Qaeda training camps.
According to the indictment, "Paul traveled to Afghanistan and obtained training at an al Qaeda training camp. The training included but was not limited to the use of assault rifles, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, small unit tactics and hand-to-hand combat."
Following his initial training, Paul traveled to the Balkan region to participate in the wars in which Serbia was engaged in ethnic cleansing against Muslim populations in the former Yugoslavia.
After returning to the United States in the late 1990s, Paul offered a variety of logistical support to radicals in Germany and traveled to that country in 1999 and "provided explosive training to fellow co-conspirators ... and assisted them in recruiting new members to the group."
The charges against Paul allege lists of items in his possession, which he stored in his house, including a fax "containing names, phone numbers and contact information for key al Qaeda leadership and associates."
Investigators found that Paul stored some materials at his own residence and stashed, at his father's house, books on guerilla warfare and weapons-making, including a note on the Al Farooq training camp in Afghanistan.
Al Farooq was where at least seven of the 9/11 hijackers received some of their training. FBI officials had been monitoring Paul for a long period of time as they worked the investigation in several countries over four years.
If convicted, Paul faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.