Al Qaeda-Trained Jihadist Who Recruited Other Inmates to Join ISIS Sentenced to 300 Months

Mohammed Ibrahim Ahmed was in Federal Custody Serving a Sentence for Terrorism Violations at the Time of his Current Plot to Recruit Terrorists

A 46-year-old international terrorist convicted of additional terrorist activity that he committed while an inmate of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has been sentenced in the Eastern District of Texas, announced the Department of Justice.

Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, an Ethiopian national born in Eretria, was found guilty by a jury in December 2019, of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS) and making a false statement to the FBI.  Ahmed was sentenced to an additional 300  months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

“While in prison for a prior terrorism conviction, Ahmed continued to engage in terrorist activity by recruiting fellow inmates to join ISIS and training them in preparation for future attacks,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.  “As long as terrorists keep offending, the Department will continue to bring them to justice.  We have done so in this case.”

“This terrorist’s original prison sentence did not diminish his support of ISIS or its ugly ideology,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox.  “Fortunately, his efforts to radicalize and train others to commit acts of violence against civilians were thwarted by the quick actions of our law enforcement partners.  Our office is committed to pursuing terrorists wherever they hide, including within our federal prison system.”

“As terrorists have grown more determined to inflict violence on populations and use any tool or method at their disposal to do so, law enforcement has become more agile in disrupting their plots,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Division Perrye K. Turner.  “Despite serving a sentence for terrorism charges, Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed had unwavering intent to continue on his quest for terror, and used his access to incarcerated individuals to further his recruiting efforts for ISIS. Today’s sentence not only demonstrates the persistence terrorists and terrorist organizations have but also, reinforces the persistence of FBI agents in the Beaumont Resident Agency to protect the homeland.” 

According to information presented in court, in 2013 Ahmed was convicted in the Southern District of New York of conspiring to provide material support to and receive military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization.  Ahmed had attended an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 1996 and was a member of the Brandbergen Mosque network, which financially and logistically supported other terrorist groups.  A federal judge in New York sentenced Ahmed to 111 months in federal prison and he was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) in Beaumont, Texas to serve his sentence. 

Ahmed continued his terrorist activities while serving his sentence at FCI-Beaumont.  He recruited at least five inmates to join ISIS and to conduct terrorist acts in the United States after their release from federal custody, telling them that he was aligned with ISIS and supported al Shabaab and al Qaeda.  From prison, he celebrated the Ariana Grande concert bombing and other acts of terror in the news, telling an inmate, “They kill kids, we gonna kill kids.”  Ahmed wanted the inmates he was recruiting to either travel abroad to join ISIS, or create “sleeper cells” within the United States to carry out attacks. 

Ahmed provided would-be recruits with a training manual on how to carry out violent jihad, including topics such as “how to carry out guerilla war,” “selection of human targets,” and “how to carry out assassinations.”  He even held physical training exercises with other inmates in the prison yard to get them in shape to carry out the acts of terror he was plotting.  Ahmed also discussed a plot with fellow inmates to bomb the Federal Detention Center in New York City as a revenge for his prosecution there.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Beaumont Resident Agency, out of the Houston Division, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice and Trial Attorneys Alicia Cook and Katie Sweeten of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Rapp participated in the sentencing hearing.

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    The Indian Health Service's (IHS) oversight of federally operated health care facilities' decision-making process about the use of funds has been limited and inconsistent. Funds include those from appropriations, as well as payments from federal programs, such as Medicaid and from private insurance, for care provided by IHS to American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). While some oversight functions are performed at IHS headquarters, the agency has delegated primary responsibility for the oversight of health care facilities' decision-making about the use of funds to its area offices. Area office officials said the oversight they provide has generally included (1) reviewing facilities' scope of services, and (2) reviewing facilities' proposed expenditures. However, GAO's review found that this oversight was limited and inconsistent across IHS area offices, in part, due to a lack of consistent agency-wide processes. While IHS officials from all nine area offices GAO interviewed said they reviewed facilities' scope of services and coordinated with tribes when doing so, none reported systematically reviewing the extent to which their facilities' services were meeting local health needs, such as by incorporating the results of community health assessments. Such assessments can involve the collection and assessment of data, as well as the input of local community members and leaders to identify and prioritize community needs. These assessments can be used by facilities to assess their resources and identify priorities for facility investment. While IHS has identified such assessments as a priority, the agency does not require federally operated facilities to conduct such assessments or require the area offices to use them as they review facilities' scope of services. To ensure that facilities are effectively managing their resources, IHS has a process to guide its review of facilities' proposed construction projects that cost at least $25,000. However, IHS does not have a similar process to guide its oversight of other key proposed expenditures, such as those involving the purchase of major medical equipment, the hiring of providers, or the expansion of services. Specifically, GAO found limitations and inconsistencies with respect to requiring a documented justification for proposed expenditures; documenting the review and approval of decisions; and conducting an impact assessment on patient access, cost, and quality of care. The limitations and inconsistencies that GAO found in IHS's oversight are driven by the lack of consistent oversight processes across the area offices. Without establishing a systematic oversight process to compare federally operated facilities' current services to population needs, and to guide the review of facilities' proposed expenditures, IHS cannot ensure that its facilities are identifying and investing in projects to meet the greatest community needs, and therefore that federal resources are being maximized to best serve the AI/AN population. IHS, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, provides care to AI/AN populations through a system of federally operated and tribally operated health care facilities. AI/AN have experienced long standing problems accessing needed health care services. GAO has previously reported that IHS has not been able to pay for all eligible health care services; however, the resources available to federally operated facilities have recently grown. This report assesses IHS oversight of federal health care facilities' decision-making about the use of funds. GAO reviewed IHS policies and documents; and interviewed IHS officials from headquarters, nine area offices, and three federally operated facilities (two hospitals and one health clinic). GAO recommends that IHS develop processes to guide area offices in (1) systematically assessing how federally operated facilities will effectively meet the needs of their patient populations, and (2) reviewing federal facilities' spending proposals. HHS concurred with these recommendations. For more information, contact Jessica Farb at (202) 512-7114 or farbj@gao.gov.
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  • Former Foreign Exchange Trader Sentenced To Prison For Price Fixing And Bid Rigging
    In Crime News
    Akshay Aiyer, a former currency trader at a major multinational bank, was sentenced to serve eight months in jail and ordered to pay a $150,000 criminal fine for his participation in an antitrust conspiracy to manipulate prices for emerging market currencies in the global foreign currency exchange (FX) market, the Justice Department announced today.
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  • Justice Department Requires Divestiture of Credit Karma Tax for Intuit to Proceed with Acquisition of Credit Karma
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that it is requiring Intuit Inc. and Credit Karma Inc. (Credit Karma) to divest Credit Karma’s tax business, Credit Karma Tax, to Square Inc. in order for Intuit, the creator of TurboTax, to proceed with its $7.1 billion acquisition of Credit Karma.  The department said that without this divestiture, the proposed transaction would substantially lessen competition for digital do-it-yourself (DDIY) tax preparation products, which are software programs used by American taxpayers to prepare and file their federal and state returns.
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  • Kenyan National Indicted for Conspiring to Hijack Aircraft on Behalf of the Al Qaeda-Affiliated Terrorist Organization Al Shabaab
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced the unsealing of an indictment charging Cholo Abdi Abdullah with six counts of terrorism-related offenses arising from his activities as an operative of the foreign terrorist organization al Shabaab, including conspiring to hijack aircraft in order to conduct a 9/11-style attack in the United States.  Abdullah was arrested in July 2019 in the Philippines on local charges, and was subsequently transferred on Dec. 15, 2020 in connection with his deportation from the Philippines to the custody of U.S. law enforcement for prosecution on the charges in the indictment.  Abdullah was transported from the Phillippines to the United States yesterday, and is expected to be presented today before Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger in Manhattan federal court.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge Analisa Torres.
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    In Travel
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  • Comet NEOWISE Sizzles as It Slides by the Sun, Providing a Treat for Observers
    In Space
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  • Home Health Agency and Former Owner to Pay $5.8 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations
    In Crime News
    Doctor’s Choice Home Care, Inc. and its former owners, Timothy Beach and Stuart Christensen, have agreed to pay $5.15 million to resolve allegations that the home health agency provided improper financial inducements to referring physicians through sham medical director agreements and bonuses to physicians’ spouses who were Doctor’s Choice employees, the Department of Justice announced today. 
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  • Justice Department Announces National Response Center and Offer to Bring Assistance to Minneapolis Police Department to Support Law Enforcement and Safe Communities Through Fair Policing
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department, in an announcement by Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eric S. Dreiband, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Katharine T. Sullivan, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica H. MacDonald, unveiled a new National Response Center Initiative and offered the assistance to the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to support law enforcement, and review, enhance and reform policies and practices to prevent the use of excessive force. The BJA Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance Response Center will be a national resource for all state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
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  • The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Diplomacy: A Conversation with Security Engineering Officer Rahim Theriot
    In Crime Control and Security News
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    In Travel
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  • Remarks by Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim on the Future of ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees
    In Crime News
    Good afternoon. Thank you very much to Vanderbilt Law School and in particular to the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law for hosting this event. I love Vanderbilt and I love Nashville, and I’m sorry not to be there in person with you today. Someday when COVID-19 is a memory and social distancing is something you do only with people you don’t like, I look forward to returning to Nashville and reconnecting with many of my old friends there. More importantly, I look forward to returning to some of my favorite honky-tonks and showing off my famous dance moves. I’ve been practicing at home in my free time, to make sure I’m ready.
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