SEATTLE (AP) — Two men intent on attacking a military recruiting station to inspire Muslims to defend their religion from U.S. actions abroad were snared by FBI agents in a terror plot sting, authorities said Thursday.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis, of Seattle, and Walli Mujahidh, also known as Frederick Domingue Jr., of Los Angeles, were arrested Wednesday night after they arrived at a warehouse garage to pick up machine guns to use in the attack, an FBI agent wrote in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
The machine guns had been rendered inoperable by federal agents and posed no risk to the public.
The two suspects appeared in federal court Thursday in tan prison garb and listened as prosecutor recited the charges against them. Detention hearings were set for Wednesday.
Their court-appointed defense lawyers declined to comment. The suspects could face life in prison if convicted.
Authorities learned of the plot early this month when a third person recruited to participate alerted the Seattle Police Department, the complaint said. Investigators immediately began monitoring the men, and the confidential informant continued to string them along by promising to obtain weapons.
The building, the Military Entrance Processing Station on East Marginal Way in Seattle, also houses a daycare. Recruits for all military branches are screened and processed there.
The Homeland Security Department said in a May 31 assessment with other organizations that it did not think it likely there would be coordinated terrorist attacks against military recruiting and National Guard facilities.
The agencies agreed, however, that lone offenders or groups would continue to try to launch attacks against these facilities.
“Our review of attempted attacks during the past two years suggests that lone offenders currently present the greatest threat,” according to the assessment, marked “for official use only” and obtained by The Associated Press.
Recently, terror supporters have encouraged their followers to focus on simple attacks and not complex, elaborate ones like those on Sept. 11, 2001.
In audio and video recordings, the suspects in the Seattle case discussed the plot at length, discussing how to time their attack at military recruits, such as by tossing grenades in the cafeteria, the complaint said.
“The key thing to remember here is, is we are not targeting anybody innocent — that means old people, women out of uniform, any children,” Abdul-Latif is quoted as saying. “Just people who wear the green for the kaffir Army, that’s who we’re going after.”
The agent wrote that they also fantasized about the headlines the attack would generate — “Three Muslim Males Walk Into MEPS Building, Seattle, Washington, And Gun Down Everybody” — and speculated that if they got control of the building, television news crews would arrive to cover them.