Department of Justice Seal United States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
Press Release
July 19, 2006


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging a London man with several terrorism-related crimes, U.S. Attorney Kevin J. O'Connor of the District of Connecticut announced today. Syed Talha Ahsan, 26, was charged with participating in a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; aiding and abetting others in providing material support to terrorists; and participating in a conspiracy to kill, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country.

At the request of the U.S. government, Ahsan was arrested earlier today at his residence in London by British law enforcement authorities. Following his arrest, the indictment was ordered unsealed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport, Conn. Ahsan appeared before a magistrate court in London, at which time he was ordered detained pending a bail hearing scheduled for July 26, 2006. The court also noted that a formal package from the U.S. government seeking Ahsan's extradition to the United States would be due within 60 days, on or before Sept. 22, 2006. An official extradition request from the U.S. government will be transmitted in due course to British authorities and is expected to be served upon Ahsan shortly.

"These charges are the result of several years of investigative work by ICE and FBI agents in New Haven, NCIS agents, and several additional law enforcement partners here in the United States and overseas," U.S. Attorney O'Connor stated. "This investigation is ongoing."

The indictment alleges that from approximately 1997 through at least August 2004, Ahsan conspired with Babar Ahmad, an organization called Azzam Publications and others to provide material support and resources to persons engaged in acts of terrorism through the creation and use of various Internet Web sites, e-mail communications and other means. The material support and resources consisted of expert advice and assistance, communications equipment, military items, currency, monetary instruments, financial services and personnel. All of this material support was designed to assist and recruit for the Taliban and the Chechen Mujahideen, as well as to raise funds for terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other places. It is alleged that members of the conspiracy maintained accounts at a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Web hosting companies in the United States, including one headquartered in Connecticut.

Babar Ahmad and Azzam Publications were previously charged by indictment in the District of Connecticut in October 2004.

Among other things, the indictment alleges that in or about April 2001, Ahsan possessed, accessed, modified and re-saved an electronic document containing then-classified U.S. Navy plans of a naval battle group operating in the Straits of Hormuz. The document is alleged to have set forth details regarding the composition, mission and capabilities of the various ships within the battle group and its vulnerabilities to terrorist attack. It is alleged that in or about July 2001, a member of the conspiracy used e-mail accounts associated with Azzam Publications to communicate with a U.S. Naval enlistee who was sympathetic to the views expressed on the Azzam family of Web sites and referred to the October 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole as a "martyrdom operation." The e-mail encouraged the enlistee to "keep up the psychological warefare [sic]."

The indictment further alleges that, in or about December 2003, Babar Ahmad was found in possession of the electronic document containing the previously classified U.S. Navy plans and the battle group's vulnerabilities to terrorist attack.

If extradited and convicted of the charges, Ahsan faces a maximum term of life in prison. Defendants charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.

This case is being investigated by a task force in Connecticut consisting of special agents of the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration of Customs Enforcement, as well as law enforcement agents from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division and Electronic Crimes Program, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

U.S. Attorney O'Connor praised the substantial efforts of law enforcement authorities from the Metropolitan Police Service's Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Extradition and International Assistance Unit, both within New Scotland Yard, whose efforts and assistance have been essential in the investigation in this case.

The case is being prosecuted by a team of federal prosecutors including Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Danaher, William Nardini and Stephen Reynolds from the District of Connecticut; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark G. Califano from the District of Connecticut; Trial Attorney Andrew Levchuk from the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice; and Trial Attorney Alexis Collins from the Counter-Terrorism Section of the Department of Justice.

CONTACT: Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722


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