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Pennsylvania Terror Plots & Patsies


Title: U.S.: Pennsylvania Woman Tried To Recruit Terrorists
Date:
March 10, 2010
Source:
CNN

Abstract: A Pennsylvania woman has been indicted for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and kill a person in a foreign country, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Colleen LaRose, known as "Jihad Jane" and "Fatima LaRose," has also been charged with making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft.

She was arrested in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 15, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said. No arraignment date has been set, the official said.

LaRose is being held at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

LaRose and five unindicted co-conspirators recruited men on the Internet "to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad," according to a Justice Department statement.

If convicted, LaRose faces a possible life prison sentence and a $1 million fine, the statement said.

The conspiracy began in June 2008, when LaRose posted a comment on YouTube under the username JihadJane saying she is "desperate to do something somehow to help" Muslims, according to the indictment unsealed Tuesday.

From December 2008 to October 2009, LaRose engaged in electronic communication with the five co-conspirators about their shared desires to wage jihad and become martyrs, according to the indictment.

Read the indictment (PDF)

LaRose and the co-conspirators, according to the statement, used the Internet to establish relationships with each another and develop plans "which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions (through the collection of passports and through marriage) in order to wage violent jihad."

According to a U.S. government official familiar with the case, LaRose was successful in recruiting some people to join the cause. She also was able to raise money, the official said, adding that she was in contact with committed jihadists in South Asia, Western Europe and Eastern Europe. The official declined to link her to any specific terrorist organizations.

LaRose, the indictment claims, stole a U.S. passport at one point in order to "facilitate an act of international terrorism."

She received "a direct order to kill a citizen and resident of Sweden, and to do so in a way that would frighten 'the whole Kufar [non-believer] world.' "

The indictment does not identify the Swedish resident, but a government official familiar with the case acknowledged that Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was the intended target. Justice Department officials declined to comment.

"I will make this my goal till I achieve it or die trying," LaRose said via electronic communication, according to the indictment.

LaRose, along with the co-conspirators, believed that "her appearance and American citizenship would help her blend in while carrying out her plans, calling it a possible "way to achieve what is in my heart," according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that LaRose even agreed to marry one of the co-conspirators to obtain residency status in a European country.

LaRose traveled to Europe in August and "tracked the intended target online in an effort to complete her task," the statement said.

According to the indictment, LaRose told the co-conspirator who ordered the murder that she considers it an "honour & a great pleasure to die or kill for" the co-conspirator and pledged that "only death will stop me here that I am so close to the target."

The killing did not occur, and LaRose was arrested about two weeks after the electronic message was sent.

Mark Wilson, a federal public defender representing LaRose, declined to comment on the case Tuesday.

LaRose, according to the Justice Department, was born in 1963 and lives outside Philadelphia in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (CNN, 2012).

Title: Second Amendment Group Made Terror Threat List In Pennsylvania
Date:
September 21, 2010
Source:
Infowars

Abstract:
Last week it was reported that Tea Party activists had made the Pennsylvania terror threat list generated by an Israeli company. Now we learn that Second Amendment as well as anti-tax activists were also snooped by the state with the assistance of he Institute of Terrorism Research and Response.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports today that a state lawmaker has demanded answers from the Rendell administration on why a taxpayer-financed bulletin intended to identify terror-related threats included two Capitol rallies he organized this year. “This is the type of activity you hear so many people talk about when they say what they think is wrong with government,” said Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. Metcalfe’s annual Second Amendment rally draws activists and gun owners from around the state.

“Pennsylvania militia groups apparently are planning on attending” the event, the Israeli company, the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, said in the bulletin. It warned law enforcement might have to provide “crowd control.”

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the event was peaceful and there was no evidence of militias in attendance.

Metcalfe said that the Israeli company issued a bulletin about his anti-tax group in June. It mistakenly said the Constitutional Organization of Liberty (COOL) was sponsoring the rally, Metcalfe said. “That’s news to me,” Metcalfe said. “COOL did not help me organize it. I am not sure if anyone from COOL attended.” COOL, an educational, non-partisan group is based in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe said he was meeting with House Republican lawyers to determine what can be done about the state and an Israeli company teaming up to snoop on constitutuioanlly protected dissent. “Did they tap anyone’s phone?” Metcalfe asked. “Have I been investigated since the rally?”

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI discovered an espionage ring that had penetrated the wiretapping system of U.S. law enforcement. The espionage operation reportedly included employees of two companies, Comverse Infosys and Amdocs. Comverse Infosys and Amdocs are based in Israel.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Rendell administration does not intend to remove security bulletins from its website.

Michael Perelman, a former York police commander, heads up the shadowy Institute of Terrorism Research and Response with Aaron Richman, a former Israeli police captain. Over the weekend Perelman asked the Rendell administration to remove the bulletins from its website. Perelman told state officials the information could be used by terrorists (Infowars, 2010).

Title: Pennsylvania Man Charged With Inciting Terrorism
Date:
July 19, 2011
Source:
ADL


Abstract:
A 21-year-old Pennsylvania man has been indicted on terror-related charges for allegedly using the Internet to encourage violence against Americans.

Emerson Winfield Begolly, of New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was charged on July 14, 2011, with soliciting crimes of violence, including acts of terrorism, and with posting bomb-making materials online. 

Begolly had been arrested on January 4, 2011, and charged the next day with assaulting FBI agents and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. After two FBI agents approached Begolly, he allegedly reached for a concealed loaded gun in his jacket and bit both FBI officers, drawing blood.

Begolly had been an active member of several jihadist forums, where he posted comments and various multimedia. He identified himself as a Muslim in his posts and pontificated on a range of issues, often praising acts of violence and expressing his "desire to be a martyr." Many of his messages were explicitly anti-Semitic, calling for the death of all Jews.  According to the FBI, he even indicated that his own mother would burn because she is not Muslim.

As a moderator on the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF), a popular jihadist forum where members post and exchange extremist propaganda, media, publications, information and news, Begolly posted comments calling for attacks on U.S. targets, "such as police stations, post offices, synagogues, military facilities, train lines, bridges, cell phone towers and water plants," as well as "civilian planes, financial institutions… Jewish schools, and daycare centers."

In another post, he wrote, "Let your voice speak forever, write your autobiography with blood."

In December 2010, writing under one of his pseudonyms, Begolly posted a 101-page instruction manual on bomb-making.  He also posted security and operational warnings, instructing his readers to maintain their anonymity when downloading the manual by not saving it to their computers.


The government's evidence against Begolly includes photos recovered from his computer, one of which shows him dressed in camouflage, holding a grenade and wearing a Shahada (Islamic declaration of faith) head band. Begolly previously posted several pictures of himself on his MySpace page dressed as a Nazi.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil McBride, asserted that the allegations against Begolly "demonstrate how young people in the United States can become influenced by – and eventually participate in – jihadist propaganda that is a serious threat to the safety of us all."

Begolly faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the new charges, and life imprisonment if convicted of the earlier charges.

Online Presence
Begolly, who was active on several jihadist forums, used various aliases online, including Asadullah Alshishani, Abu Nancy, Goat Lee and Goatly.  Begolly also communicated with others by instant message. Some of these conversations, which Federal investigators were able to recover, demonstrate Begolly's militancy and bigotry.

During the recovered conversations, Begolly said "if america were not at war with islam i would not hate it but i am angry." He said that if he were to "act now," he would "go down like [Oklahoma City bomber Timothy] McVeigh" and asked "have you ever considered shooting up ur schooling and taking revenge on those who wronged u?" He also said "most brothers objected to targeting kids but the reason i am for it is because first they r easy targets and second because the public will want a reaction…plz dont think im a psycho ;)."

Some of Begolly's forum posts were praised online by other extremists, including Zachary Chesser. Chesser himself had an extensive online history before he was arrested in July 2010 for attempting to travel to Somalia and join the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Al Shabaab.

Many of Begolly's most popular messages took the form of nasheeds (Islamic songs), which were circulated by others on various jihadist forums. For example, a moderator of the Al Shabaab affiliated Al Qimmah forum described Begolly as "The Nasheed Master" and dedicated an English translation of an Urdu language nasheed specifically to him.

Below is a sampling of nasheeds and poetry Begolly wrote and recorded:

A nasheed in honor of Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi man who carried out a suicide attack in Sweden in December 2010, was posted on Al Shumukh, an Al Qaeda-linked message board. The lyrics of the chorus read, "Grab my gun and my ammo, Strap my kamarband onto my chest, Get dressed up in my camo, Martyrdom is what I wanted best."

In a nasheed praising Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Begolly sang to bin Laden, "You fight AmeriKKKa, And terrorize the Jews, You slay the murtadeen [apostates], And blow up the Hindus."

In response to the Israeli naval operation to stop a flotilla of ships en route to Gaza in May 2010, Begolly wrote and recorded a nasheed in tribute to the "Activists Who were Martyred, Wounded, and Imprisoned at the Hands of the Zionist Pigs."  The song, which is entitled "When the Jew's blood reds my knife, then my life is free from strife," was posted on the Ansar Web site in June and threatens to "throw them [the Jews] in the ovens" and to "shoot and kill Jews one by one."

A nasheed titled "A Tribute to the Self-Sacrificing Mujahideen" was posted on the official Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades message board. In the nasheed, which discussed the feeling of leaving home to join the mujahideen, Begolly sang "I desire to be a martyr."

In a nasheed in tribute to Al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, Begolly sang "And I pray, For the day, O that day, When I'm killed as a Fidaye [commando]." The nasheed was posted on Al Qimmah, an Al Shabaab-linked message board.

 On the Al Shabaab linked Al-Qimmah forum, Begolly posted an hour-long tape of nasheeds and stories from the "Jihad in Bosnia."

In a tribute to Abu Umar al-Baghdadi (believed to be Hamid Dawud Muhammad Khalil al-Zawi) and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (better known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri), both key members of Al Qaeda in Iraq who were killed in 2010, Begolly wrote "Like lions you hunted the kuffar and killed them, and like poachers they slaughtered you But the lion cubs of Tawhid shall not remian silent, and the day of revenge is coming So we gnash our teeth, hungry for vengence, hungry for the flesh and blood of our enemies."  He concludes: "Asadullah Alshishani writes these words with tears in his eyes wishing he had fallen beside you." This poem was posted on Islamic Board by a sympathizer. 

Below are excerpts from Begolly's comments to the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum:

"Peaceful protests do not work. The kuffar [infidels] see war as solution to their problems, so we must see war as the solution to our[s].  No peace.  But bullets, bombs and martyrdom operations." 

"There is only one life, let it be spend in the service of Allah.  And there is only one death, let it be for the sake of Allah."

"Who are the best targets?  Off duty police, off duty soldiers, gang member, family members of soldiers, government agents, workers at ammunition factory, white supremacists or black supremacists.  It is best if targeting soldiers or police that they are off duty and out of uniform simply because they investigations will look usually for 'robbery gone wrong' or 'revenge' then as act of terrorism of revolt."

"A successful lone-wolf attack, when even kills 1 or 2 or 3 of the kuffar [infidels] is BETTER THAN an[] UNSUCCESSFUL massive attack which also results in your own arrest…"

"Allahs commands us to fight the kuffar as they have fought us.  Remember 9/11, 7/7, Madrid and Beslan."

"Let your voice speak forever, write your autobiography with blood"

"Why terrorize the average Americans? BECAUSE ALLAH COMMANDS US TO TERRORIZE THEM.  They terrorize us.  Let the[m] wake up to the horrors of war and the reality of death that they would otherwise not ever know just sitting at home stuffing their fat faces watching TV."

"Our religion tells us, and example has shown to us, YES to is halal [permissible] to deliberately target civilians in Jihadi operations carried out in Dar-ul-Kuffar [land of the infidels]”  (ADL, 2011).

Title: Pennsylvania Man To Plead Guilty To Terror-Related Charge
Date:
August 3, 2011
Source:
CNN


Abstract:
A Pennsylvania man who was facing federal terrorism-related charges in Virginia for allegedly using the Internet to solicit jihadists to kill Americans has informed the court he intends to plead guilty, according to a court filing.

Emerson Begolly, 22, of New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was indicted last month in Alexandria, Virginia. He was charged with solicitation to commit violence, which carries a 10-year sentence, and posting bomb-making instructions on the Internet, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Begolly's decision to plead guilty came in a filing with the Alexandria Federal Court on Tuesday. The court case will now be handled by the Western District of Pennsylvania, where Begolly faces additional charges.

Begolly is charged in Pittsburgh with allegedly assaulting federal agents and with firearms-related charges, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Authorities say that following shootings at the Pentagon and Marine Corps Museum last year, Begolly praised the shooter online and said he hoped the shooter had followed his previous postings encouraging similar acts of violence.

"(The) case underscores the continuing threat posed by homegrown extremists seeking to use the Internet to incite violence," Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco said (CNN, 2011).

Title: Port Richmond Man Busted In Terrorism Case: Authorities
Date:
March 16, 2012
Source:
NBC Philadelphia


Abstract:
A Philadelphia man was arrested Thursday and charged in an alleged plot to provide support to an Uzbek terrorist organization that authorities say is engaging NATO coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Bakhtiyor Jumaev was arrested in his Port Richmond home, according to Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

Jumaev, a Philadelphia resident believed to be from Uzbekistan, is charged by complaint of conspiring to provide material support or resources to a terrorist organization.

He made an initial appearance in Philadelphia and has another hearing scheduled Tuesday. His lawyer Barnaby Wittels had no immediate comment.

”It's too early in the proceedings to really say anything,” Wittels said.

Authorities believe Jumaev sent money to an Uzbek refugee, Jamshid Muhtorov, who lived in Aurora, Colo., and was arrested in January in Chicago while traveling.

Muhtorov and Jumaev are also suspected of trying to participate in a “wedding” -- code for terrorist event or attack -- planned by the Islamic Jihad Union, FBI agent Donald Hale said in an affidavit.

The group opposes the Uzbek government and was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department following attacks on U.S. and Israeli embassies in 2004.

It claimed responsibility for attacks on NATO coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, including a March 2008 suicide attack against a military post, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit.

Muhtorov was indicted on a charge of providing material support and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic Jihad Union. Prosecutors in court documents said Jumaev conspired with others in the alleged plot to support the organization. An investigation is continuing.

The FBI said Muhtorov communicated with a contact with the Islamic Jihad Union by email using code words, telling a contact that he was “ready for any task, even with the risk of dying.”

Muhtorov, a human rights worker, resettled in Colorado in 2007 with the help of the United Nations and the U.S. government.

He was arrested Jan. 21 in Chicago with about $2,800 in cash, two shrink-wrapped iPhones and an iPad as well as a GPS device. Prosecutors said he told FBI agents that he could barely support his family, let alone support terrorism.

Muhtorov's attorney, federal public defender Brian Leedy, said during a court hearing that Muhtorov denies the allegations and had been headed to the Uzbekistan region to visit family, including a sister who remains imprisoned in Uzbekistan.

The FBI said investigators intercepted cellphone calls between Jumaev and Muhtorov in which Jumaev said he envied Muhtorov's participation in the “wedding.”

“On or about Dec. 2 ... Jumaev called a known associate and told him that they better meet sooner rather than later, as the associate may not see Jumaev in this world anymore,” according to the affidavit.

Jumaev is also accused of sending $300 to Muhtorov through an associate's checking account, that Jumaev told investigators was the repayment of a debt.

The FBI said Muhtorov and Jumaev are close friends and that investigators had been investigating Muhtorov because of his communications with an Islamic Jihad Union website administrator (NBC Philadelphia, 2012).

Title: Pitt Alum Arrested For Bomb Threats, But Threats Continue
Date:
April 12, 2012
Source:
ABC News


Abstract:
Bomb threats to the University of Pittsburgh kept the campus on edge Wednesday night and Thursday morning despite an arrest of a possible suspect.

A rash of more than 50 threats have been made against the university and its officials since mid-February, causing constant disruptions to classes and activities on campus and evacuation of campus buildings and officials' homes.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh University police department and Allegheny County Police arrested Mark Lee Krangle, 65, of Hudson, N.Y., as he arrived at the Pittsburgh airport on a flight from New York on charges of harassment and terroristic threats.

Krangle allegedly sent threatening emails to four professors at the university, and wrote that he was coming to Pittsburgh to get his theories about the bomb threats out to the public, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Krangle's Facebook profile shows extensive musings on the perpetrator and motive behind the bomb threats.

Hours after Krangle was arrested, however, the university received two more bomb threats. Around 10 p.m. on Wednesday evening, students were evacuated from a residence hall after a threat was emailed to ABC News' Pittsburgh affiliate, WTAE, saying "Tell Pitt cops - bombs are in the Litchfield Towers and in the William Pitt Union building on campus."

Around 5 a.m. today, five more residence halls were evacuated due to threats. The university said Wednesday the investigation into the threats is ongoing.

Pittsburgh University police were unavailable for comments this morning. The FBI and Pittsburgh police department are assisting in the investigation, according to a police department spokeswoman.

Criminal records show that Krangle was convicted in 2003 of threatening to kidnap, a felony offense for which he served prison time and was ordered to undergo psychiatric therapy. The court documents from the case are sealed.

On his Facebook page, Krangle claims he received his Ph.D. from Pitt, and offers a link to an e-book he authored about his role in the Jimmy Carter administration. He notes that the federal case against him in 2003 was caused by a letter he wrote to ABC TV, alleging that he had information about the 9/11 attacks before they happened.

Krangle, in his recent Facebook posts, tied the Pitt bomb threats to the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Pittsburgh movement.

"I'm a former Pitt teaching fellow and doctoral candidate who became involved in the intelligence community since leaving. I believe more than one person is involved, directed by a mastermind. I believe the motive is revenge for a host of wrongs committed by Pittsburgh's one percent, though I have no information that the Occupy movement is responsible," Krangle wrote in one post.

A $50,000 reward has been offered by the university to anyone who can provide information leading to arrests in the case.

One recent threat was made late Tuesday night, targeting Chancellor Mark Nordenberg's house in Oakland, according to WTAE. The chancellor declined to evacuate or have the police dogs search his home.

Many professors and students at the university are planning an early exit for the end of the semester, telling ABC News that final exams have been canceled or made available online so students can complete them at home.

"I was evacuated at 4 o'clock in the morning last Monday, and it was honestly really terrifying," student Sarah Halperin told WTAE (ABC News, 2012).

Title: Teenager Pleads Guilty In Pennsylvania Terror Case
Date:
May 4, 2012
Source:
News-Gazette


Abstract:
A Maryland teen pleaded guilty Friday to U.S. terror charges for offering assistance to an American woman who dubbed herself "Jihad Jane" and supported an Irish terror cell bent on waging a Muslim holy war in Europe.

Mohammad Hassan Khalid, now 18, faces a 15-year prison sentence for a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists for his offer to raise money and recruit terrorists for jihad.

Khalid, then a 17-year-old high school student from Ellicott City, Md., was arrested last July after he corresponded with a woman who later admitted plotting to kill a Swedish artist who had offended Muslims. He was just 15 when he began online chats with Colleen LaRose, the Pennsylvania woman calling herself Jihad Jane who now faces life in prison.

Khalid was held in FBI custody as a juvenile before being indicted after turning 18. Khalid and his family are legal immigrants from Pakistan and he could be deported following completion of his prison term. A sentencing date wasn't immediately set.

Khalid had been offered a full scholarship to prestigious Johns Hopkins University while a student at Mount Hebron High School, where his teachers recalled his strong work ethic. But in a secret life online, he pledged to forward money to LaRose for her to pass on to the jihadists, or holy warriors, and hid a passport she sent him, according to authorities.

LaRose, of Pennsburg, Pa., was being watched by the FBI after posting online videos in which she vowed to kill or die for the jihadist cause.

LaRose was arrested in November 2009 after returning to the United States from Ireland, where authorities said she traveled after agreeing to marry an online contact from South Asia and become a martyr. LaRose intended to murder Swedish artist Lars Vilks for depicting the prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog, authorities said.

Investigators said there's no evidence LaRose ever made it to Sweden.

Khalid was indicted along with Ali Charaf Damache, an Irish citizen from Algeria who married another American woman, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, of Colorado, after she moved to Waterford, Ireland, to meet him.

Neither women has been sentenced.

The American women were sought for their Western looks and passports, authorities have said. Damache, known as Black Flag, was charged in the Khalid indictment but has not been extradited (News-Gazette, 2012).

Title: Five Arrested, Accused Of Terrorizing Jewish Camp In Pennsylvania
Date:
July 26, 2012
Source:
CNN


Abstract:
Three adults and two juveniles were arrested Wednesday for allegedly terrorizing a Jewish camp in Pennsylvania.

Authorities say Tyler Cole Spencer, 18, Mark Trail, 21, Cassandra Robertson, 18, and two juveniles intimidated Jewish campers and staff at Camp Bonim on three separate occasions on July 14 and 15.

Spencer allegedly drove a white Ford pickup truck "recklessly" through the camp, "narrowly missing several campers and staff" and damaging fields, yards, buildings and fences, the police criminal complaint said.

The group also allegedly used paintball guns to shoot Jewish campers and staff, hitting one 18-year-old camper leaving a synagogue, according to the complaint.

Authorities allege members of the group also shouted anti-Semitic slurs at campers and staff, such as "I'm gonna kill you, you f***ing Jews."

"Go back to where the f*** you came from you god**** Jews. We don't want you here," Trail allegedly shouted, according to the complaint.

Several campers told police they "were scared for their lives" when the pickup truck sped through the camp, the complaint said.

"The vicious, cruel and obscene nature of the language hurled at the campers is unspeakable," Wayne County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney Janine Edwards said in a statement. "Luckily none of the children suffered any serious physical injury; however, the emotional damage done is immeasurable. This is outrageous conduct and will not be tolerated."

Spencer, Trail and Robertson have been charged with several felonies and misdemeanors, including ethnic intimidation, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and institutional vandalism.

Spencer, of Linden, Tennessee, was charged previously with aggravated assault in a hit-and-run case. He allegedly hit a camp counselor with his pickup truck before fleeing on July 16.

Spencer's bail has been set at $200,000. Bail for Trail and Robertson, who are from Wayne County, has been set at $20,000 each.

Juvenile petitions were also filed against the two alleged accomplices, a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old.

It is unclear if the defendants are represented at this time, and listed numbers to the defendants' families could not be found (CNN, 2012).

Title: Scottish Terrorist And Two Hackers Charged University Of Pittsburgh Bomb Threats
Date:
August 15, 2012
Source:
ABC News


Abstract:
A man with ties to a Scottish terrorist group is accused of sending email bomb threats more than 50 times to the University of Pittsburgh this spring.

Scottish National Liberation Army member Adam Stuart Busby, 64, is accused of sending the email threats to the university, along with multiple bomb threats to western Pennsylvania courthouses, and specific threats of violence to U.S. attorney David Hickton, according to the FBI.

He is in custody in Dublin, Ireland, on charges relating to bomb threats and hoaxes throughout Great Britain, the FBI announced today.

Two men from Ohio who have claimed membership in the hacking group Anonymous were also charged in connection with the threats for their role in threatening to release personal information from the Pittsburgh college's computer system.

The university was evacuated more than 130 times during the spring semester because of the threats.

Today, Hickton announced that federal law enforcement authorities working on he case had begun to suspect Busby's involvement as early as April, but the investigation took months to bring charges because of international subpoenas to Internet service providers.

A warrant for Busby's arrest will be lodged with Interpol, Hickton said.

Alexander Waterland, of Loveland, Ohio, and Brett Hudson, of Hillsboro, Ohio, were also charged in indictments released today stemming from emails they sent to the university in May about the bomb threats. The two men, identified as members of the hacking group Anonymous, are charged with targeting the computer the university's computer system and releasing personal data.

The two men were identified after they sent emails to the university's administrators promising to end the bomb threats if the university withdrew a monetary reward they had begun offering for information relating to the threats.

Hickton said today that authorities do not know why Busby targeted the University of Pittsburgh, saying that he had no ostensible connection to the school or community.

He was convicted in Dublin in 2010 of sending email threats from a public library to British airline officials at Heathrow claiming bombs were on two flights to New York, according to the Guardian.

Busby has been convicted of previous attacks and hoaxes throughout Great Britain (ABC News, 2012).

Title: Man To Plead Guilty In Threat To Release Pitt Data
Date:
October 19, 2012
Source:
Post-Gazette


Abstract:
A day after one man pleaded guilty to conspiracy related to threats against the University of Pittsburgh, his accused co-conspirator also agreed to plead, according to court filings Thursday.

Alexander Waterland, 25, of Loveland, Ohio, is scheduled for a plea hearing Nov. 15 before U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti. Co-defendant Brett Hudson, 26, of Hillsboro, Ohio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy Wednesday and faces sentencing Feb. 8.

The two were accused of downloading information from Pitt's website -- which the university maintains did not include any personal information -- and then threatening to widely release it unless the chancellor apologized publicly for leaving the data vulnerable. The two claimed in a series of YouTube, email and Twitter communications to be part of the loosely connected hacker-activist group known as Anonymous.

The threats came when the university was on edge because of unrelated bomb threats, for which Scottish nationalist Adam Stuart Busby has been charged (Post-Gazette, 2012).

Title: Second Ohio Man Pleads Guilty To Electronic Extortion Of University Of Pittsburgh
Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
GSN


Abstract:
In the latest conviction in a convoluted series of Internet threats against the University of Pennsylvania this spring, a 25-year-old man has pleaded guilty to making a YouTube video threatening to release information hacked from the school’s servers unless his demands were met.

Alexander Waterland pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count in federal court on Nov. 15. Court records showed in detail how Waterland and an accomplice tried to leverage a purported information theft into concessions from the university’s administration.

Waterland’s threats were part of a series of tangled, but separate, extortion demands made against the university in the spring of 2012. Between March 30 and April 21 --  around the time Waterland and his friend Brett Hudson were posting their threats  -- the university had also been targeted with an escalating series of high-profile bomb threats sent over the Internet to university administrators.

Similar to Hudson and Waterland’s Internet demands of the administration, the perpetrator of the bomb threats also tried to extort the university.

In August, U.S. federal prosecutors indicted the purported leader of a Scottish terror group   --  Adam Stuart Busby  -- for the bomb threats against the university. Busby had also reportedly had made similar threats against public institutions in the U.K.

In the latest conviction in the tangle of incidents that plagued the school, court records said Waterland downloaded a large amount of data from the University of Pittsburgh server in April.

Waterland, said court records, downloaded the data, including identifying information of students and faculty, at the suggestion of Brett Hudson, a co-worker in Ohio, who sent him the Web link where the information could be obtained. The purpose of the download was to include it in an Internet threat to send to the university administrtors. Waterland and Hudson were indicted in the case last August.

According to court documents, in late April, Waterland and Hudson created and posted video to a YouTube account they had created under the name of AnonOperative13. They claimed to be members of the international hacktivist group Anonymous. The video claimed the university’s servers holding confidential student and instructor information had been compromised and that the university’s Hydrogen server had been compromised with 200 gigabytes of data stolen. They said unless the university altered their Web page domain to include an apology from the school’s chancellor, the confidential information would be released.

Around the same time as they posted the video, said court records, they sent a message from an e-mail account they had created at anonoperative@gmail.com to the University of Pittsburgh’s Web master, containing the link to AnonOperative13’s YouTube threat.

The next day, said the records, Hudson set up a Twitter account in the name of AnonOperative13, which was associated with the anonoperative@gmail.com e-mail account and the AnonOperative13 YouTube account.

A few days later, Hudson, posted a link to the YouTube video threat against the University of Pittsburgh onto the Twitter account of AnonOperative13. The tweet was received by the university’s administration.

On May, 2, said court records Hudson and Waterland posted a comment to the YouTube video -- which was still available on YouTube-- in response to numerous apparent objections by other viewers to the threatening video.

“We are not going to release this information unless Pitt admins don’t follow our very simple request! We are giving Pitt until Monday, May 6, 2012, and should remain posted for no less than 15 days,” said the post. “To help determine if this threat is real or not, we have posted very little and near useless information but should prove our point. We also would like to mention that we have no ties with the current bomb threats as we do not condone violence or harm to any person. This would directly violate our rules of engagement. Enjoy the information and Pitt can stop the release of information; however, the morning of Monday.”

On May 6, the purported deadline in Hudson’s and Waterland’s threat, Hudson texted Waterland, stating, “Dude scan Pitt.edu we need something to post,” indicating the need to download more data from the University of Pittsburgh server in order to make good on their threat, said court records.

On or about May 14, 2012, the men sent an e-mail to both police@pitt.edu and webmaster@pitt.edu, from their e-mail account at anonoperative@gmail.com, titled “proof of recent breech.”

“Do what’s best, time is of the essence, so you have seven days to have the public apology to the students released...otherwise, usernames and passwords are next. We are anonymous,” said the message. “We are legion. We are your brothers and sisters. We are the students and faculty of Pitt. We are your worst nightmare. The Internet is here. You will now expect us,” it continued. The e-mail again included attachments purported to be personal information stolen from the university’s computer servers.

Waterland is slated for sentencing on Judge March 13, 2013, where he could face a five year prison term, a $250,000 fine, or both, said the FBI. Federal guidelines, it said, base the sentencing on the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Waterland was allowed to remain free on bond, said the FBI.

Hudson pleaded guilty for his involvement on October 17. His sentencing is set for February 8, 2013, said the FBI (GSN, 2012).

Title: FBI, Pittsburgh Police Investigate YouTube Video That Threatened Zone 5 Officers
Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
Post-Gazette

Abstract:
Pittsburgh police and the FBI are searching for two men accused of producing a rap video threatening two city police officers.

Rashee Beasley, 20, of Garfield, and Jamal Knox, 18, of East Liberty, both face charges of making terroristic threats, intimidation of witnesses, retaliation against witnesses and conspiracy.

Police said the two produced a YouTube video -- which has since been removed from the site -- that makes threats against officers in the city's Zone 5 station in Highland Park and calls out two officers by name. The video also references Richard Poplawski, who is currently on death row and was convicted of fatally shooting three officers from the city's Zone 5 station in 2009.

Both Mr. Beasley and Mr. Knox are scheduled to go to trial in February on firearms violations, a case that began when the officers named in the video arrested them in April.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard declined to comment on the video, saying that Chief Nate Harper does not want to draw further attention to the video's creators or "buy into their notoriety."

The FBI is assisting because the threat was Internet-based, but the city police intelligence unit is leading the investigation, Pittsburgh FBI spokeswoman Kelly Kochamba said.

"We are aware of it, and we're ready to assist the Pittsburgh police whenever they need our help," she said (Post-Gazette, 2012).