3 Britons Indicted in Terror Plot; Charged with Planning Hits in N.Y., N.J., D.C
Byline: Guy Taylor, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A four-count indictment unsealed in New York federal court yesterday charges three British men with plotting attacks with weapons of mass destruction on financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and the District.
Dhiren Barot, Nadeem Tarmohamed and Qaisar Shaffi are accused of collecting video footage of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank headquarters in the District, the New York Stock Exchange and Citicorp Building in New York, and the Prudential Building in Newark, N.J.
The three, who are charged with planning attacks with "improvised explosive devices and bombs," are among eight Britons who were arrested and indicted on similar charges in August in Britain.
U.S. authorities say the charges stem from the same intelligence that prompted the government to raise the terror threat level to "high" for the named financial institutions last summer.
Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey yesterday said the United States intends to extradite the men to the United States for trial as soon as their court proceedings are completed in Britain.
In the United States, they will face a maximum of life in prison for conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction charges, and 35 years each for charges of conspiring to damage and destroy buildings and providing material support to terrorists.
The indictment does not specifically accuse the men of involvement in the al Qaeda terrorist network. But it maintains that Barot, who also goes by the names Esa al-Britani, Abu Esa al-Britani and Esa al-Hindi, was the leader of a "jihad training camp" in Afghanistan during the late-1990s.
The indictment only gives details of the men's surveillance activities between August 2000 through early April 2001, although Mr. Comey said their "conspiracy was alive and kicking up until August 2004" when they were arrested in Britain.
It was not clear whether the three are tied to a series of high-level al Qaeda arrests, including one of the network's suspected technology experts, that were made around the same time in Pakistan last year.
According to one Pakistani news account last summer, the arrest in July of several terror suspects in Lahore, Pakistan, yielded more than 500 photographs of the corporate sector in New York, and led to the arrest of Abu Esa al-Britani - aka Barot - and others. …