Ahmed Omar Abu Ali

Today's big news maker is Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the valedictorian of a Virginia high school who allegedly went on to join an Al Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia and plot the assassination of the President.

According to Fox News and the AP,

The federal indictment said that in 2002 and 2003 Abu Ali and an unidentified co-conspirator discussed plans for Abu Ali to assassinate Bush. They discussed two scenarios, the indictment said, one in which Abu Ali “would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street” and, alternatively, “an operation in which Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb.”

When Abu Ali was in Saudi Arabia he ended up getting arrested by Saudi authorities. His family sued the Federal government alleging that they sought his arrest in that country so he could be tortured for information. However, Saudi Arabian police practices are different than here. The fact that he appeared in court here in the US was a bit of a surprise, but justice may yet be served:

When [Attorney] Nubani offered to show the judge his back, [Judge] O'Grady said that Abu Ali might be able to enter that as evidence on Thursday at a detention hearing.
“I can assure you you will not suffer any torture or humiliation while in the [U.S.] marshals' custody,” O'Grady said.

Whatever he was charged with in Saudi Arabia, he's facing some serious charges right here.

Abu Ali is charged with six counts and would face a maximum of 80 years in prison if convicted. The charges include conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda, providing material support to Al Qaeda, conspiracy to provide support to terrorists, providing material support to terrorists and contributing service to Al Qaeda.

Abu Ali had been known as an “unjustly imprisoned” person by a few organization. Obviously the online petition for his release will need to be updated, as well as the summary at Rights 101 Oregon:

At the request of the US government, on June 11, 2003, US citizen Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was arrested by Saudi security officers while he was taking his final exams at Medina University. Over one year has passed, and neither the US government nor the Saudi government has charged him with wrongdoing. In fact, both governments have signaled that he is innocent.
Mr. Ahmed Abu Ali’s parents were told by US State Department personnel, in the presence of their attorneys and a delegation from the Council on American Islamic Relations, that a high-ranking Saudi official in charge of the case has informed the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that “Abu Ali could be rendered to American authorities at any time if the US Government made a formal request.” But our government has not made a formal request.

Well, obviously a request was made. It's clear that a request wouldn't be made until charges could be made, and charges couldn't be made until all of the intelligence information behind those charges could be cleared. I feel this is the fundamental problem with intelligence being involved in law enforcement. It takes time to extricate a case from the effort to understand Al Quaeda. Is it really as important to jail a foot soldier if jailing him slows down our apprehension of someone like Bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri?

Apparently they managed to build a case against Abu Ali that has been isolated from the other work, but it took over a year. I'm not excusing it. I don't like it. But I can understand it.

Update: Fox News has provided a link to the indictment.

Update2: Wizbang, as usual, has a deeper round-up of information:

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was related to the "paintball jihad" group of 11 Virginia men charged in 2003. One point of crossroads between Ali and the paintball jihadists is the Dar Al Arqam Islamic center in Falls Church…
It's also possible that his father held (or holds) a high level position in the Saudi Embassy.

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Feb 22 2005 08:50 AM

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Muslim-American Indicted for Bush Assassination Plot (UPDATED)

American born Muslim goes to Saudi Arabia to study Islam. While there he becomes converted to Jihad. Joins al Qaeda. Plots to kill President Bush. For now his only defense has been that the Saudis tortured him and he is... [Read more]

The Jawa Report

Linked Tuesday, Feb 22 2005 01:23 PM

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali Followup

So, it turns out the school Ahmed Omar Abu Ali attended and at which he earned the title “valedictorian” was the Islamic Saudi Academy. This school sis funded by Saudi Arabia and follows Wahhabism, the fundamentalist Islamic movement. It is... [Read more]

Josh's Weblog

Linked Wednesday, Feb 23 2005 01:01 PM


There are 4 comments on this entry.

It is never necessary to imprison a US citizen and torture him until we finally gather some 'intelligance information'. You all need to listen to David Cole, real professor from Georgetown, not some hate-filled, red-neck school you all attend to get your knowledge of 'how this world should operate'.


Posted Friday, Mar 4 2005 12:47 PM

I'm not sure I should respond to a comment of someone who didn't read my posting for content and who attacks me personally, but here goes.

Saudi Arabia arrested this person. They followed whatever police procedures they follow. If you want to exact regime change on Saudi Arabia for that, feel free to lobby for that. I do not know if it is the United States that convinced Saudi Arabia to arrest this person, but you can imagine something serious had to happen if

  1. The person was a US citizens
  2. The person was the son of a Saudi Arabian embassy official
  3. The person had Saudi Arabian heritage
  4. We are unlikely to share the extent of our intelligence information on Al Quaeda with Saudi Arabia

Can you imagine Saudi Arabia arresting someone like that just because we asked them to?

The United States, however, did not arrest him. They did articulate a charge against him that convinced the Saudi Arabian authorities to release him to us to be charged in a US Federal Court. It takes time to develop a court case, especially when it involves sensitive intelligence information.

The universities I've attended were New Jersey Institute of Technology, Widener University and the Oregon Graduate Institute (part of the Oregon Health & Science University). At no point was there anything approaching “hate” taught at these schools.

I was born in Michigan and have lived all across the United States, most recently the Portland, Oregon area and Philadelphia before that. I suspect that “redneck” is an odd term to apply to someone of that background.

Josh Poulson

Posted Friday, Mar 4 2005 02:04 PM

Ahmed Abu-ali is not of saudi origin. He is originaly from the town of lafta which is located in palestine, but his parents were born in jordan. Ahmed Abu-ali is a palestinian or you can say a jordanian and who ever claims he is of saudi decent is trying to justify the governments actions. The us govenment has spread this lie in order to exempt themselves from the responsibility for ahmed staying in a saudi prison for over a year. The us government wants people to think he is saudi so people can say, "Oh thats why the saudi's wouldn't release him because he is one of them." and as far as his father being an embassador to the us working in the saudi embassy is hogwash. His father manages the computers in the saudi embassy. and how can you be sure that the information here is correct well lets just say i grew up with him.

ali salim

Posted Monday, Jun 13 2005 03:36 PM

I know Ahmed very well and have known him since I was about five. The government is capable of conviciting a ham sandwich if they wanted to, so keep that in mind. This means don't believe their "facts." When someone has to cover their butt for a mistake they made, they will lie and their lies have taken them this far. What they don't know is that a lie can only go so far and that soon enough Ahmed will be in the safety of his home. The world will know and learn how much the goverment lied to them about Ahmed and tried to sully his image and make him look like a terrorist. Don't tell me "but look at the facts," the facts are that most of us don't know what happened b/c we are relying on the government that had lied time and time again to Americans and to the world. And the facts are the words that Ahmed uttered in his testimony to the judge, nothing more, nothing less. Soon if God wills it, Ahmed will be vindicated, you'll see.


Posted Thursday, Dec 1 2005 01:47 PM

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