Four men living in the United States were recently arrested and charged with plotting to commit terrorist acts against the United States. The ringleader was Sohiel Omar Kabir, an Afghan born man who was a naturalized U.S. citizen and served in the U.S. Air Force but was discharged after 17 months for, well, the air force won’t say why. Kabir recruited Ralph Deleon (a Filipino living in the U.S.) and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales (a Mexican in the U.S. legally) after persuading them to convert to Islam. The three of them then recruited another Moslem, Arifeen David Gojali. The four planned to travel to Afghanistan, join the Taliban, and attack American troops.
As is often the case, the recruiting was done via social networking sites. Although Kabir deleted all his Islamic radical material once he had his small group assembled and ready to go off to Afghanistan, the FBI had been tracking the group for some time. The FBI inserted an informant into the group, who helped keep track of the four once they attempted to “go dark” (delete all their Islamic radical and anti-American material from the Internet) and actually try and carry out terrorist acts.
There’s a lot of this pro-terrorist activity on the Internet, and many of the participants are Americans (citizens or foreigners living in the United States). Increasingly, over the past decade, the FBI and other American intelligence agencies have been monitoring this activity and making arrests when the activists appear to be moving from rhetoric to actual violence. The vast majority of these wannabes never go beyond threats or vague plans. But the FBI has learned that the more of these poseurs there are, the greater the probability that some of them will actually get it together and hurt someone.