From KFI 640 - Eric Leonard is the reporter and is very respected.
Army Ball, Recruiting Centers Targetted, Others May Be Involved in Local Terror Plot
August 16, 2005
(( LISTEN )) | By Eric Leonard
A formal reception for Army officers in Long Beach may have been the first target of two men recently arrested for a series of robberies and who are now suspected of plotting gun attacks around Los Angeles, law enforcement sources have told KFI NEWS.
Torrance police arrested Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21, and Levar Haney Washington, 25, July 5 following a gas station robbery in Fullerton, according to Torrance police Lt. Rod Irvine. The men have since pleaded not guilty to ten counts each of robbery, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office.
The investigation was handed over to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after Torrance detectives searched Washington’s apartment and discovered target lists, maps, “Jihahdi” literature, and military equipment, authorities say.
Winston McKesson, an attorney representing Patterson, said Monday, “once the investigation is complete, the evidence will show my client had no involvement in any violent actions against this country.”
One specific target identified by the sources was a ball put on in June by the Association of the U.S. Army to celebrate the U.S. Army’s birthday. An incorrect date for the event was noted in evidence found during searches, the sources said, but the location at a hotel in Long Beach was accurately described.
A coordinator for that event told KFI she had not been advised of a threat.
At least one other man may have planned to participate in some of the attacks, the sources say. That man may have conducted extensive internet research to evaluate targets.
That third man is likely a Pakistani national named Hamad Riaz Samana, 21, arrested last week in connection with the case, sources confirmed Tuesday. Court documents related to the arrest have been sealed.
Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Samana was not in that department’s custody and referred questions to the FBI.
The sources said Washington has told investigators he is the leader of a larger group assembled to carry out attacks against the U.S.
An initial series of simultaneous attacks on military facilities and recruiting stations were described in some of the recovered evidence, the sources said, but those plans were apparently scrapped because of high levels of security at the locations.
Possible targets listed in the evidence include: Army National Guard facilities, an Army installation, and a military base in the South Bay, according to news reports.
Recruiting centers identified included offices in West L.A., the South Bay, and Glendale, the sources said.
California National Guard spokesman Maj. Jon Siepmann referred KFI’s questions about the target list to the FBI Tuesday, though Siepmann was quoted by the Associated Press last month saying three National Guard facilities had been targeted. He said the threat was, “very serious.”
Lt. Commander Eric Grimm, also of the California National Guard, told KNBC-TV last month the three facilities were placed on a heightened state of security as a result of the Torrance investigation.
KFI reported Monday law enforcement sources said Washington and Patterson were being investigated for possibly planning a September 11, 2005 gun attack on a military recruiting office in Santa Monica.
Washington’s attorney had said last month he was unaware of a terrorism investigation, other than FBI agents had requested to speak with his client.
The FBI says the case is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force but would not comment specifically on KFI’s report.
Two Local Men Planned September 11, 2005 Terror Attack
August 15, 2005
(( Listen )) | By Eric Leonard
Two men recently arrested on suspicion of committing armed robberies in Torrance and Fullerton were Muslim converts who are now suspected of planning a variety of jihad-inspired terror attacks around Los Angeles, including one scheduled for September 11, 2005, KFI NEWS has learned.
Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21, and Levar Haney Washington, 25, planned to shoot up a military recruiting station in Santa Monica and at least one other civilian target, a high-ranking federal law enforcement source confirmed recently.
“The intent was to kill everyone at the target, including civilians,” the source said.
Both men have been in jail since July 5 when they were arrested by Torrance police, suspected in at least two armed robberies, according to authorities.
“They [detectives] discovered some items during their investigation that led them to contact the FBI, and the FBI has since taken over the investigation,” Torrance police spokesman Lt. Rod Irvine said Monday.
“We do have one of our investigators as part of the joint terrorism task force, and so he is currently working with the FBI,” Irvine said.
Both men have been charged with ten counts of robbery and are due back in court August 23rd for a hearing in Torrance Superior Court, according to Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorneys office.
A search of Washington’s West 27th St. apartment turned up Jihadi literature, military equipment, knives, maps of Southern California, news stories on Muslims’ efforts to recruit young African American men for the holy war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a target list, according to the source and other news reports.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Monday the case was being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force but declined further comment.
The federal source continued: Washington and Patterson planned to drive a van to the recruiting station at 2020 Santa Monica Blvd. in the city of Santa Monica and planned to attack the place with rifles while dressed in camouflage clothing and ski masks (the military relocated the recruiting offices from this address in June, 2005).
Washington claimed he and Patterson were members of Jama’at al Islam, and claimed the group was the largest Muslim extremist organization inside California prisons, according to the source and other news reports.
Washington was paroled to Orange County on November 11, 2004 after serving part of a six year sentence for second-degree attempted robbery, according to California Dept. of Corrections records.
Patterson had recently purchased a rifle and was arrested during the requisite waiting period, a local law enforcement source said Monday.
Patterson's lawyer, Winston McKesson, told KFI Monday he has not been provided with any new information from the federal government.
"Once the investigation is complete, the evidence will show my client had no involvement in any violent actions against this country," McKesson said.
"My son has never done anything wrong," Patterson's mother told the Long Beach Press Telegram last month. "All they told us is he was picked up for robbery and they brought in the FBI because they suspected some terrorism."
She said her son had recently converted to Islam.
Washington's lawyer Jerome Haig told the Press Telegram: "I don't know anyting about it. All I know is the FBI agents want to talk to my client."
> KNBC-TV Channel 4 coverage of arrests
> California Guard, Israeli Mission Get Terror Alert (AP via MSNBC)
> Men Eyed by Terror Panel (Long Beach Press Telegram)
According to other stories related to this, one of the two busted claims to be the "leader" of a group of men who were planning these attacks for 09/11/05. It was reported today that over 100 FBI agents were working the leads garnered from these guys. Also, terror experts and local law enforcement was helping out. I'm getting the feeling this is very big, but the scope may not be known for quite a while...
Okay, the short of it, they were going to target Recruiting Centers here in the L.A. area and apparently the Army Ball here in Long Beach. They were planning to shoot up the Recruiting Centers, killing workers and the general public...
Sounds like the left's wet dream.
Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21
Levar Haney Washington, 25
Those have got to be two of the most "American white bread" names I've seen in years.
Uh, oh.... I've got a *bad* feeling about this. Not bad enough that we've got honest-to-Allah Muslims trying to kill us, now we've got to worry about "converted" Americans in the mix as well.
Just fucking wonderful. An entire criminal element that hates "the Man" being indoctrinated in prison by those that want to destroy this nation.
Sounds like a match made in Hell to me.
Kinda funny how the general media hasn't said a word about this.
is anyone travelling or going out sept 11 (sun)?
Just another reason why we should all be armed, 24/7, wherever we go. We just never know where the threat may come from these days or where that threat may strike. I'm sure Al-Qaida would love to use American looking people, since nobody is going to be paying attention to them.
Keep your guard up people. Something tells me times are about to get interesting.
When the mosque cell was busted several weeks ago, the story died almost immediately.
It's sad, really.
9/11 was a wake-up call.
Most americans hit the 'snooze' button.
Sounds more like 'Pumpernickel' to me.
i'm just say'n...
It's on CNN.
Also heard it on the radio this morning.
(That said, I knew the background to it, I got the email at work last July so had a heads-up)
Liberal US Rep. Dem. Jane Harmon is taking the lead on this. On the 10pm news last night said she is very concerned about this little incident. She sit on the USA House of Representatives Intelligence Cmtte.
Terror Probe Targets Prison in Folsom
Alleged plot to attack Southland sites may have been conceived inside the facility.
By Greg Krikorian and Jenifer Warren
Times Staff Writers
August 17, 2005
Counterterrorism officials investigating an alleged plot to attack National Guard recruitment centers, synagogues and other sites in Southern California said Tuesday they are investigating the possibility that the plot was hatched by Islamic extremists and gang members at a state prison in Folsom.
Details remained closely guarded, but law enforcement sources said they were actively investigating the breadth of possible connections between three men now in custody in Los Angeles and inmates at California State Prison, Sacramento, one of two prisons in Folsom, about 25 miles east of the capital.
The possibility of connections between prison gangs and potential terrorists has been a worry for U.S. officials for some time.
There are at least several significant investigations into the alleged use of federal and state prisons as bases for recruiting potential Islamic terrorists, according to a senior FBI counterterrorism official in Washington.
Investigators emphasized that they have not proved the alleged plot in the current case was hatched at the prison. Nor are they certain how many of about two dozen targets involved in the case might have been the site of a planned terrorist attack.
"We have no indication so far how many they might have gone after," said a law enforcement official involved in the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.
The investigators say they do know that an Islamic group called Jamiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh, or JIS, has had a presence at the prison for about five years and that its followers include both inmates and former inmates. The group's name translates from Arabic into the Assembly of Authentic Islam.
Devan Hawkes, a gang specialist with the Corrections Department, said the group was the smaller and newer of two Islamic gangs, referred to by agents as "disruptive groups," known to be operating in California prisons.
Officials involved in the investigation have three people in custody who are believed to be connected with the alleged plot — Levar Haney Washington, 25; Gregory Vernon Patterson, a 21-year-old former employee of a duty-free shop at Los Angeles International Airport; and Hamad Riaz Samana, 21, of Inglewood. Washington is a former inmate at California State Prison, Sacramento, and a former gang member.
Authorities have filed only local robbery charges against Washington and Patterson. Both remain in custody at the Men's Central Jail.
Samana was arrested more than a week ago by counterterrorism officials in connection with the investigation. He is being held on unspecified charges at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Samana, a Pakistani national, is a student at Santa Monica College who has been in the United States for five years and has no known criminal history or connections to overseas extremists.
A call to his family's apartment was not returned Tuesday, and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
In the course of the current investigation, authorities have been looking into allegations that the plot was conceived by two inmates at California State Prison, Sacramento, Peter Martinez and Kevin Lamar James.
Prison officials declined to discuss that allegation, citing the FBI investigation of the alleged plot. Todd Slosek, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said only that Martinez was from Alameda County and was serving a 40-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder, following earlier stints in the system for drug offenses. James, of Los Angeles County, is incarcerated on a 10-year term for attempted second-degree robbery, Slosek said. He also had a history of juvenile offenses.
The investigation by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force began last month after Torrance police arrested Washington and Patterson in connection with a string of robberies and allegedly recovered evidence at Washington's apartment suggesting that a terrorist attack might be in the offing. The alleged evidence included addresses of locations as well as dates — among them, Sept. 11 — for a possible terrorist attack, according to officials familiar with the investigation.
How Washington and Patterson became acquainted and got to know Samana is one of many unanswered questions in the investigation, which has involved more than 200 FBI agents, Los Angeles detectives and other federal and state counterterrorism officials.
One law enforcement source said authorities determined long ago that the three men had attended an Inglewood mosque just blocks from Samana's residence. But that location, Jamat-E-Masijidul Islam, is only one of the mosques the men attended in the Los Angeles area, the source said, adding that there was no evidence that the mosque played a role in any alleged plot.
The degree to which Islamic groups in prison may be recruiting grounds for terrorist acts has been hotly debated, particularly since the arrest in 2002 of Jose Padilla, an American Muslim convert and gang member who authorities say planned a "dirty bomb" attack after he left jail.
Earlier this year, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Intelligence Committee that "prisons continue to be fertile ground for extremists who exploit both a prisoner's conversion to Islam while still in prison, as well as their socioeconomic status and placement in the community upon their release."
But others reject the notion that American prisons are a breeding ground for terrorists. One critic cited in a report by New Jersey's Office of Counter-Terrorism called the suggestion dangerous speculation and questioned why a terrorist organization would want soldiers who are fingerprinted and whose personal data is recorded by the criminal justice system.
Another skeptic is David Shwartz, retired religious services administrator for the federal Bureau of Prisons, who argues that Islam is a positive force in the rehabilitation of inmates.
Overall, California prisons are home to about 1,000 "disruptive groups" — or street gangs and splinter organizations — as well as seven prison gangs, defined as having their origins behind bars, said Hawkes, the gang specialist who works at the Pelican Bay State Prison, in Crescent City.
Perhaps the best known of the prison gangs are the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood and Nuestra Familia. All told, the seven gangs claim about 1,000 members — those with official authority — plus tens of thousands of associates.
Contributing to this report were Times staff writers Richard Fausset, Anna Gorman, Josh Meyer and David Rosenzweig and Times researcher Nona Yates.
Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
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I'm going to see Toby Keith in Allegan MI. then flying to Tampa the following week.