Skip to comments.NJ Missile Plot Affidavit
Posted on 08/13/2003 11:09:06 AM PDT by freeperfromnj
(AP) Some highlights from an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in New Jersey, outlining the alleged plot to smuggle a shoulder-launched missile into the United States:
_Investigation began in December 2001, when a "cooperating witness" or informant under federal law enforcement control began talking with the alleged arms dealer, Hemant Lakhani, about obtaining anti-aircraft guns and missiles. The witness told Lakhani he was representing a Somali group that wanted to buy one missile initially "with a purchase of a greater number of missiles to follow."
_Between Dec. 2001 and Aug. 13, 2003, more than 150 conversations between Lakhani and the FBI informant were either audiotaped or videotaped. Most of the conversations were in the Urdu and Hindi languages.
_During a Jan. 17, 2002 meeting in New Jersey that was recorded, Lakhani is overheard discussing Osama bin Laden with the informant, saying that bin Laden "straightened them all out" and "did a good thing."
_On Sept. 17, 2002, Lakhani and the informant met at a hotel overlooking the Newark airport. Lakhani "verified with the cooperating witness that the purpose of shooting down a commercial aircraft was to cause economic harm to the United States. 'Make one explosion ... to shake the economy,'" Lakhani is quoted as saying.
_In April 2002 at a hotel in New Jersey, Lakhani and the informant discussed various models of shoulder-fired missiles. The informant said he wanted them for "jihad" and to shoot down a plane. Lakhani confirmed he would work with the witness and asked if the witness wanted as many as 200 missiles. The witness says he just wants one to start.
_On Aug. 20, 2002, Lakhani faxed to the witness in New Jersey a document listing a price for the Igla (SA-18) missile and launcher device. In October 2002, the price was put at $85,000, with a down payment of $30,000.
_In November 2002, Lakhani and the witness had several conversations about the deal, with Lakhani repeatedly warning that arms trafficking is "very dangerous." He warns the witness against depositing money into the supplier's account, saying that "This business is getting so dangerous. No one has the guts to do it."
_ In December 2002, Lakhani told the informant to get copies of news magazines discussing the failed al-Qaida plot to down a jetliner in Mombasa, Kenya. Lakhani says that the missiles used in that attack are older and that "ours is much higher quality." The Kenya attack was with an older SA-7 model.
_In February 2003, Lakhani sent to the informant an invoice, purportedly from a company in Cyprus for "spare parts for medical facilities" and for a "laboratory bench." In March 2003, Lakhani tells the informant that the missile would be shipped from St. Petersburg, Russia, with documents listing it as "spare parts."
_Lakhani traveled to Moscow on July 12, 2003, to finalize the sale. Lakhani met there with the cooperating witness and two officers of Russia's Federal Security Service posing undercover as suppliers. They displayed what appeared to be an actual missile, but officials had substituted a replica. Lakhani actually holds it up at one point, according to a videotape.
_On July 15, 2003, Lakhani asked for a commitment from the Russian "suppliers" for 50 more missiles to be sent to the United States by Aug. 30. Lakahni also said he was interested in purchasing a multi-ton batch of C-4 plastic explosive.
_In early August, Lakhani agrees to travel to New Jersey to verify shipment of the first missile and to make arrangements for the 50-missile deal. The initial payment for that deal was supposed to be $500,000.
The game's not over yet, kids...
Two Men Charged in Missile Plot Appear in U.S. Court
Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- A British arms dealer and a Malaysian man, arrested in a government sting operation, were accused of plotting to smuggle a Russian-made shoulder-fired missile into the U.S. to shoot down an American commercial airliner.
Hemant Lakhani, a 68-year-old London resident of Indian descent, was charged with two counts of aiding terrorism by conspiring to sell the shoulder-fired missile to an undercover U.S. agent posing as a terrorist.
The case relied on cooperation between U.S., British and Russian law enforcement officials. The international undercover effort comes amid heightened concern with the threat from shoulder-fired missiles after a failed attack last November by al- Qaeda-affiliated terrorists on an Israeli passenger plane in Mombasa, Kenya.
``There is no question Mr. Lakhani was someone sympathetic to the beliefs of the terrorists who are trying to do damage to our country,'' U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie told a news conference today at the U.S. Courthouse in Newark after the court appearance. ``The terrorists who threaten America lost an ally in their quest to kill our citizens.''
Lakhani was charged with ``attempting to import into this country for sale a shoulder-fired missile specifically for the purpose of shooting an American commercial airliner out of the sky.'' Christie said. He called the suspect a ``significant international arms dealer.''
Lakhani expected to be paid $500,000 as a 10 percent down payment for the delivery of another 50 missiles when he met yesterday with the undercover agent, Christie said.
``Mr. Lakhani was a knowing, willing and anxious participant in the plan,'' Christie said.
Lakhani and Moinuddeen Ahmed Hameed of Malaysia appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Wigenton, who ordered them held without bail pending hearings next week. A third man, Yehuda Abraham, 76, of New York, is due to appear in federal court in Manhattan later today.
Lakhani was arrested yesterday, authorities said. Hameed, charged with conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, arrived from Malaysia yesterday to help launder the $500,000 payment for the planned sale of the addition 50 missiles, Christie said.
Abraham is accused of handling an initial payment of $30,000 for the missile that was smuggled into the U.S. as part of the sting. Christie described the shoulder-fired missile as a ``dud'' that was rigged to look as if it were a live weapon.
Last Updated: August 13, 2003 12:23 EDT
I agree. In just about every article I've seen on this, it seems they go out of the way to point out that he is of Indian descent. That means nothing. He clearly is an OBL sympathizer. I don't know what criteria the feds use to determine if one is an actual "member" of al qaeda or not. Just because his name doesn't appear on a list somewhere doesn't mean he isn't one of them.
Suddenly, it doesn't seem so tin foil after all.
The closely related (as spoken that is) languages of Pakistan and India repectively. (Only the main ones of course.) About like Portuguese and Spainish, or like Serb and Croat. Like the first pair because the languages are only similiar and a speaker of one can make out the other, like the latter as they are written in a very different manner.
"They were informants, not real terrorists. This guy was just the dealer. If "they" said they wanted 50, he tried to get 50 from his "supplier", who also turned out to be "the man". Guy got caught in a double sting, both ends of his deal were not what they appeared to be to him. To FReaking Bad!
Still, he wanted to sell to those he thought were terrorists. He sought them out and was willing to sell them 50 missiles knowing they'd be used to attack commercial airliners. They have him on tape -- he's an OBL sympathizer, if not an al qaeda member himself. If he didn't get caught up in this sting he may have succeeded in selling to real terrorists.
My fear? It's not quite begun!!!
Of course you can't tell by looking if he's Muslim or Hindu or Godless atheist.
Which makes him as Supplier to Terrorts (as the Kzin might put it) and a terrorist himself by Presidential definition, as well as an amoral SOB. However my point was that his wanting 50 missles has nothing to do with any impending action by the real Muslim fanatic terrorists, since he wasn't dealing with them, even though he thought he was. Hopefully he'll sing like a canary and lead to some real terrorists and Russian criminals who would supply them.
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