As part of the effort in Iraq, the US stepped up its acceptance of refugees from the country over the last several years. The main concern was for those Iraqis who worked with the US, whose lives would have been in danger had they remained, but apparently at least a couple of those playing for the other side managed to get in as well. Federal authorities took two of those refugees living in Kentucky into custody yesterday for their attempts to assist al-Qaeda in terrorism against the US, and one of the suspects has been linked by fingerprints to an unexploded IED in Iraq:
Two Iraqi nationals who came to the US as refugees have been arrested in Kentucky on charges that they conspired to provide money, weapons, and other support to Al Qaeda in Iraq, federal officials announced on Tuesday. …
Mr. Alwan is accused of conspiring to kill US nationals abroad, distributing information on the manufacture and use of improvised explosive devices in Iraq, and plotting to transfer Stinger missiles to Iraq.
Mr. Hammadi is charged with attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda in Iraq, and conspiring to transfer Stinger missiles.
“Over the course of roughly eight years, Waad Ramadan Alwan allegedly supported efforts to kill US troops in Iraq, first by participating in the construction and placement of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq, and, more recently, by attempting to ship money and weapons from the United States to insurgents in Iraq,” said Todd Hinnen, acting assistant attorney general for national security.
Alwan’s bragging made it possible for the FBI to tie him to at least one specific act of terrorism. He told the FBI’s informant that he had conducted IED attacks in Iraq as a means of establishing his bona fides. The FBI took his fingerprints and ran it against those recovered on disarmed IED devices and found a match from June 2008, shortly before Alwan came to the US in 2009. The story matched in other respects, including the one-eyed associate already captured by American forces at the time.
According to the FBI, Alwan wanted to set up shop in Kentucky to run munitions back to AQ insurgents in Iraq. None of the money or weapons, up to Stinger missiles, ever made it into Iraq, the FBI insists. One has to wonder how many others may have made their way to the US through the Iraqi refugee program, however, and whether AQ is using them for running guns and money — or for other, more operational purposes here in the US. Perhaps the files captured in the Osama bin Laden raid will have more information on potential AQ sleepers, but the Iraq arm of AQ mostly ran itself (and ran itself into the ground after the surge).
Update: The more I think about the fingerprint match, the more curious I get. Did no one think to run fingerprint checks on refugees before bringing them to the US?