A Staten Island, NY man was sentenced to 21 years in prison, according to yesterday’s FBI news. Why?
According to court filings and the evidence introduced at trial, in early 2008 Shehadeh devised a plan to travel to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan in order join al Qaeda or the Taliban. In furtherance of his plan, on June 13, 2008, Shehadeh flew on a one-way airline ticket from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Islamabad, Pakistan. After Pakistani officials denied him entry, Shehadeh told investigators from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) that he had traveled to Pakistan to visit a university. However, the true purpose of Shehadeh’s trip was to wage violent jihad against United States military forces.
Several weeks after Shehadeh was denied entry to Pakistan, he attempted to enlist in the United States Army at the Times Square recruiting station in Manhattan. Shehadeh’s application was denied when it was discovered that he had concealed his trip to Pakistan on his application. Though Shehadeh claimed that he had tried to enlist for career opportunities and benefits, his true motive was to deploy overseas, where he would commit treason by defecting and fighting alongside insurgent forces. Over the next several months, in subsequent interviews with members of the JTTF, Shehadah continued to lie about the true purpose of his travel. However, in 2010 Shehadah confessed to FBI agents that he had sought to join a jihadist fighting group. Shehadah was arrested in Honolulu, Hawaii, in October 2010.