BOSTON – A private investigator who works on terror cases says a suspect arrested in Boston is dangerous because of his connections and because he openly promoted “martrydrom” in his Internet postings.
Federal prosecutors confirmed this week they arrested Tarek Mehanna, 27, of Sudbury, Mass., in connection with terror plots that allegedly included plans for attacks on U.S. shopping malls and several officials inside the White House.
The suspect was charged with plotting to carry out terror attacks, although all the plans fell through because of the alleged conspirators’ inability to obtain automatic weapons.
Mehanna had an initial court appearance Wednesday and is charged with conspiracy. He previously had been accused of providing false statements to the FBI in connection with another terrorism investigation.
Florida private investigator Bill Warner specializes in terrorism and he says that Mehanna isn’t dangerous because of his unsuccessful terrorism plans, but the danger rests with his connections and because he openly promoted jihad.
Mehanna blogged under the pseudonym Abu Sayaba and Warner said Mehanna enjoys posting inflammatory articles.
“He posted an article called ‘Make Martyrdom What You Seek,’” he said, identifying a writing that previously had been posted in 2008 by Samir Khan.
Khan is another pro-jihad blogger who lives near Charlotte, N.C., and Mehanna may have connected with him online, Warner said. Khan blogs under the pseudonym InshaAllah Shahid, he said.
Warner said Khan also previously has been investigated.
“The feds have shut down his website two or three times in the last two years,” he said.
He also openly advocated for jihad, Warner said.
But Warner said the link between the men indicates they may have been communicating.
“They both have a lot of cross-posts; they both blog on the same things. They both advocate jihad against the United States,” he said. “They both post articles with videos on the Internet that show prisoners being executed, cars being blown up and U.S. soldiers being killed.”
The FBI complaint verified details of the blog posts and videos.
Warner said the dark side of the situation is that propagandists can be recruiting participants for jihad in “Afghanistan, Somalia or wherever.”
Boston U.S. Attorney’s office spokeswoman Christine Sterling confirmed that there are several suspects in the overall investigation.