A terror suspect will spend 22 years behind bars in the United States for his plan to attack a military base in Texas. Although the FBI was able to stop the attack before it was carried out, the planning was severe enough to land the 23-year-old in prison and also call for an additional ten years of supervision after the fact.
Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud was living in Ohio at the time he started to plan the attack. He is an immigrant from Somalia who later became a US citizen. In the weeks after becoming a citizen, Mohamud traveled to Syria to train for the attack on American soil.
While his defense team wanted the court to believe that Mohamud fell victim to a radical group once he arrived in Syria, it was clear that the training was planned all along. He chose to travel abroad as soon as he was a citizen to get the skills he needed to attack the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth.
The defense also asked for leniency in sentencing since Mohamud did not grow up with a father figure. This logic seemed misguided at best and had little influence on the outcome of the case.
The family of Mohamud appeared in court, although they did not make any statement. As the defense tried to paint the young man as a victim, in this case, evidence surfaced that the support of terrorist activities seems to run in the family. The brother of Mohamud also trained in Syria and received financial support from his brother while living in the United States.
The plot to attack the Fort Worth military location was in direct retaliation for the arrest of Aafia Siddiqui. He is a Pakistani scientist who was found guilty of shooting two American service members. Mohamud thought that killing multiple service members on the base would somehow lead to the release of Siddiqui.
There are many within the legal community who want to make it seem like Mohamud’s plot was never a real threat, and that the fact that he thought he could free Siddiqui made him appear childlike. What they are missing in this argument is that the same type of opinion was voiced in regards to the attacks that occurred on 9/11.
The plan to use commercial jets to fly into buildings seemed illogical and not possible before it happened on 9/11. It is not too far-reaching to think that an attack like the one planned by Mohamud may have worked to a certain degree. He may not have been successful in freeing anyone else, but he could have still killed innocent soldiers. This was the more significant drive anyway.
The judge, in this case, was not swayed by the dismal portrayed the defense painted of the suspect. The prisoner even went as far as to apologize to both his family and his “adopted” country in an attempt to show the judge he was sorry for his plans.
It is not clear why Mohamud was so driven to perform such terrible crimes against the only country he ever knew. This is not an adult who was acts of war in his homeland and wanted revenge. He came to America with his family when he was two years old and should have had plenty of time to settle in the United States.
The fact that his brother also trained in Syria shows a very different picture of the Mohamud family. This was not a single, misguided youthful mistake. There is something perhaps happening at home to push both young men to return to the Middle East to train for terrorist activities.
While a 22-year sentence is significant, there are also questions about how much support Mohamud and the rest of his family gave to the brother overseas. It seems there was a possibility of other charges tied to this support that was never lobbied. It also concerns that the family connection may not have been thoroughly investigated. It should raise plenty of red flags that there are at least two members of the same household trying to become terrorists.
The American public is lucky in this case to at least see one of the brothers going to prison for the next few decades. Mohamud will not be a threat to the hard working military members in Fort Worth anytime soon.