Skip to comments.Student 'obsessed with jihad'
Posted on 11/11/2004 4:33:01 AM PST by SLB
A Wyoming Technical Institute student charged with attempting to help terrorists in Somalia reportedly said he wished he had flown a hijacked plane during the Sept. 11 attacks, federal authorities said.
Mark Robert Walker, 19, of Rochester, N.Y., had become interested in Islam at a mosque in his hometown, said one official familiar with the case, according to the Washington Post.
"He seems like a lost guy who got obsessed with jihad," the official told the newspaper.
Federal prosecutors accuse Walker of planning to supply Ittihad al Islamiya -- which wants an Islamic government in Somalia -- with night-vision goggles and bullet-proof vests. Charging documents say he used the computer of a roommate at the Laramie school, also known as WyoTech, to make the arrangements.
Walker was arrested Saturday while crossing into El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where prosecutors say he was using an Internet cafe to line up a meeting with someone known as "Khalid" at the El Paso airport Saturday afternoon, reported the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y.
That newspaper also quoted an FBI source as saying Walker was posting on an Internet forum under the names of "Abdullah" and "Abdullah313." Among the comments he allegedly made: "I hate the U.S. gov't; I wish I could have been flying one of the planes on Sept. 11."
He also posted messages saying he planned to travel to Somalia and fight.
"He's not a major terrorist or a threat to us," FBI spokeswoman Andra Simmons said. "In the end, he's probably better off in a U.S. prison than fighting jihad in a foreign country."
Walker had reportedly been in Laramie since August. He had moved from the West Coast to New York state in June with his parents.
The criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in El Paso said Walker fled Wyoming after his roommate told him that he had informed law enforcement officers about finding messages to terrorist groups on a computer that was shared by both roommates.
The roommate was not identified in the court papers, and Adi Liberman, a spokesman in Los Angeles for Corinthian Colleges, which owns WyoTech, said federal and institutional confidentiality rules prevented the school from identifying him.
Liberman did say the computer belonged to a dormitory resident adviser. A resident adviser is "somebody who lives on site and whose job is to look after the safety and welfare of fellow students and residents," Liberman said. "By coincidence, Walker's roommate was the resident adviser."
"I believe it was after Walker had finished using the computer the resident adviser noticed all this information on his computer."
The adviser apparently reviewed Web sites that Walker had visited, Liberman said. Most computers store those sites in a temporary file.
"If this guy had been using his own computer -- the college does not monitor personal computer use," he said.
The adviser turned the information over to campus security Oct. 27, who in turn notified police, Liberman said.
"It's a very unusual situation," Liberman said. "We really haven't had to deal with anything like this, and we feel fortunate that our systems worked, that there's been no impact on the students or instruction, which as you can imagine is really our primary concern."
Students and visitors at WyoTech said Wednesday they were surprised at the news.
"I just wouldn't think it would happen here, at a school," said James Haskin, who was visiting the school from his home in Highland Ranch, Colo.
Haskin said he first learned of the arrest of Walker when he and his father spotted an account of it on the Internet Monday. Haskin was in Laramie with a group sizing up the privately operated school, which specializes in automotive and diesel technology education, with an eye to possibly enrolling.
Several WyoTech students were asked about the matter during a break between classes, and all said they had not read about the arrest and did not know Walker.
Laramie Police Commander Dale Stalder said the FBI got in touch with the police department during the last week in October to confirm that Walker lived in Albany County. Stalder said FBI agents came to Laramie, but Walker had already left town.
At the Walker home in the Rochester suburb of Irondequoit, no one answered the door when a reporter rang the bell. Neighbor Don Milton said the Walker family moved to upstate New York from Washington state. He said he saw Walker mowing the lawn on several occasions.
"The short time I've known them, they were very pleasant. I'm just completely baffled," said Milton, a 63-year-old real estate consultant. "It's a shame. I feel sorry for the family."
Walker told federal law enforcement officials he planned to purchase the night-vision goggles and bullet-proof vests with $2,100 in $100 bills he was carrying, the complaint said. Walker told agents he would give the items to fighters with Ittihad al Islamiya and other groups that want an Islamic government in Somalia. Ittihad al Islamiya has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State and Treasury departments.
Walker was being held without bond in the El Paso County Detention Facility. He was scheduled for a hearing Friday. Conviction on a charge of providing support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
He's going to need night vision goggles now more than ever so he can see who's trying to sneak into his cell every night.
Throw away the key on these jihadists.
A rabid dog should be treated as one...
This situation calls for drastic measures.
What is it with treason and the name "Walker"?
I wonder where he's from originally. California? Wash State?
"Jihad Johnny" Lindh Walker... then Mark Robert Walker... and Walker is a Bush family name as well.
Offspring of blue state liberal retards.
Wonder if this little Jihadi's going to have a limp-wristed weenie of a father like Johnnie Walker Lindh.
Agreed! And I think we'd better start keeping a close watch on this guy, as well:
And how many more OTMs crossed over the border that day?
This rings suspiciously of Nick Berg.
Boy is a candidate to play cowboys and Muslims. Laramie has really gone down hill to let this guy run loose.
His parents must buy him a straitjacket for Christmas.
Where do these whackjobs come from?
I live in Rochester.
Too bad that this @$$ is in jail instead of at RIT up here, where he could be "reasoned with".
Actually, maybe it's better for all concerned parties.
The answer's simple for morons like *Mark*.
...send 'em to Iran.
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