The Edge of Terrorism
|Jim Kouri||August 12th 2012|
A U.S. soldier and Muslim-American, who went AWOL and was plotting to kill other American soldiers near Fort Hood, Texas, will serve the rest of his life in federal prison, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Friday.
Friday morning in Waco, Texas, former U.S. Army Spc. Naser Jason Abdo faced United States District Judge Walter S. Smith as he sentenced Abdo to two consecutive life prison terms for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and for possession of a weapon in order to commit a violent crime.
In addition, Judge Smith also sentenced the 22-year-old dishonorably discharged Abdo to a total mandatory consecutive 60 years’ imprisonment for one count of attempted murder of officers or employees of the United States, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence, and one count of possession of a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence, according to Justice Department officials.
In May, a federal jury convicted Abdo of the above mentioned charges. Testimony presented at trial revealed that on July 27, 2011, Abdo attempted to create and detonate a bomb in an attempt to kill "with pre-meditation and malice aforethought" members of the of U.S. Armed Services and to shoot any survivors of the bombing with a firearm. Evidence revealed that Abdo possessed a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun while attempting to carry out his improvised explosive device (IED) plot, according to an Examiner news story.
“This case serves as another reminder of the need for vigilance against extremists both at home and abroad,” said Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “I thank the many federal, state, and local law enforcement officials who thwarted Abdo’s plot and were responsible for this successful prosecution.”
Law enforcement officers from the Killeen, Texas, Police Department arrested Abdo on July 27, 2011. At the time of his arrest, the suspect, had been an absent without leave (AWOL) soldier from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who was in possession of an unregistered firearm, in addition to instructions and schematics showing how to build a bomb as well as bomb-making components, according to the police report.
Testimony during the trial revealed that Abdo intended to detonate the destructive device inside an unspecified restaurant frequented by soldiers from Fort Hood, the scene of a previous attack by a U.S. soldier who was a radicalized Muslim, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan. While Hasan succeeded in his plot to kill American soldiers, Abdo's attack was thwarted, according to a law enforcement source.
“Today’s sentencing of Mr. Abdo is a conclusion to an investigation which defines what we hope to do every time, that is to prevent an act of terrorism before it occurs,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.
“This sentencing today provides a sense of comfort to the Killeen residents, especially those affiliated with the military, that Mr. Abdo will no longer be a threat to our community,” stated Killen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin.
Jim Kouri, the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, writes for the Examiner, from where this article is adapted. He has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the U.S.