Two Iraqis charged in Ky. with terrorism plotting


by Mike Colombo

Posted on May 31, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 1 at 1:39 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-  The Department of Justice believes Waad Alwan and Mohanad Hammadi are the first people to be charged in Federal Court with attempting to aid al-Qaida in Iraq.
Of the 23 charges in this indictment, Alwan is accused of conspiring to kill Americans living abroad. Both men are accused of providing material support to terrorists. Waad Alwan and Mohanad Hammadi moved to Bowling Green in 2009. Not long after, the FBI began investigating the men using an undercover informant, who convinced Alwan that Osama bin Laden would fund their efforts in Iraq.
"Part of this undercover investigation was sending money and weapons over to Iraq in support of the Mujahidin who were fighting against US military forces," said Special Agent Elizabeth Fries.
The FBI says in September 2010, Alwan talked to the informant about providing support to terrorists in Iraq.  Two months later, Alwan and Hammadi picked up weapons from a storage facility in Kentucky and delivered them to a location where they thought they would be shipped to al-Qaida in Iraq.  The weapons came from the FBI who taped it all.
"The weapons were real and they were significant weapons. There were machine guns, grenade launchers, C4. Mr. Alwan drew a diagram of an IED device and were to place that," said Fries.
The explosives were inert and the shipment never left Kentucky.

"Half of our team worked on the historical aspect of this case. That being his (Alwan's) involvement in IED attacks against US military forces while he was in Iraq," said Fries.
Alwan and Hammadi were allowed to enter the U.S. in 2006, even though both had been arrested by Iraq security forces. A Homeland Security official says they missed them saying, “This case demonstrates specific gaps that were present in the screening process that was in place in the beginning of the administration. Once the administration became aware of these gaps, it took immediate steps to fill them. Today our vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years."
So, why Bowling Green, Ky? It may be because hundreds of Iraqi refugees have moved there in the past decade.  The FBI is also looking at other reasons.
"We had concerns about the proximity to Ft. Knox and Fort Campbell. We've identified nothing at all to indicate they came here for a strategic purpose domestically," said Fries.
Neither man is charged with plotting attacks within the U.S. Alwan will be represented by Federal Public defender Scott Wendelsdorf. Hammadi will be represented by James Earhart. The men will be back in court June 8.