The Immigration Factor – Naturalized U.S. Citizen Added to FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List

February 24, 2015 | Michael Cutler

On January 23, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat.” My focus was on the nexus between failures of the immigration system that can enable aliens engaged in terrorism to enter the United States and embed themselves as they await instructions. Such individuals are referred to as “Sleeper Agents.”

Incredibly, in an apparent effort to distract attention from the nexus between failures of the immigration system and the threats that these failures pose to national security and public safety, sleeper agents are increasingly deceptively being referred to as “home grown” by journalists and politicians.

Metaphorically, the ink on my article had barely dried when, on January 29, 2015, the FBI issued a press release entitled, Naturalized U.S. Citizen Born in Somalia Added to FBI List.

Here are three brief paragraphs from that FBI press release:

Liban Haji Mohamed, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia, has been named to the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists, and a reward of up to $50,000 is being offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction. Mohamed is charged with providing material support and resources to al Qaeda and al Shabaab, a Somali-based terrorist organization.

Traveling with his U.S. passport, Mohamed is thought to have left the United States on or about July 5, 2012. Before his departure, the 29-year-old lived in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. where he worked as a cab driver.

It is important for us to locate Mohamed because he has knowledge of the Washington, D.C. area’s infrastructure such as shopping areas, Metro, airports, and government buildings. This makes him an asset to his terrorist associates who might plot attacks on U.S. soil.

Here are the salient issues in the case of this alleged terrorist. He is traveling on a U.S. passport he became eligible for when he became a naturalized United States citizen. The key issue is how thoroughly his and his family’s applications for visas and subsequently for citizenship were vetted.

Somalia is a country well-known for its involvement with al-Qaeda, al Shabaab and other such terrorist organizations. Therefore citizens of Somalia, as well as citizens of other nations known for involvement with terrorist organizations should be carefully screened. Fraud in such applications was identified by the 9/11 Commission as a key tactic use by terrorists to enter and embed in the United States and have been used by dozens of other terrorists.

I have provided testimony at state legislative hearings as well as at Congressional hearings about the nexus between immigration, identity documents, driver’s licenses and terrorism. The case in question provides a clear insght into how all of these issues are inextricably intertwined.

The press release at issue also touches on another issue but does not completely close the circle. Mohamed has been identified as being a recruiter for al Shabaab. Here is a relevant paragraph:

“While living in Northern Virginia, Mohamed was a recruiter and radicalizer for al Shabaab, which historically has targeted Westerners to go to Somalia and fight for them.” . . .“Not only did Mohamed choose to go to Somalia and fight with al Shabaab, he took a prominent role in trying to recruit people and have them train with weapons.”

The fact that Mohamed drove a cab made it easy for him to conduct clandestine meetings without calling attention to those meetings. When an individual who is under investigation travels from his home to a location where he(she) meets another person, it is obvious that a meeting is being conducted. However, when a passenger gets into a cab, airport van, or other such public conveyance it is impossible to determine if the person who boards that vehicle is simply a passenger or a person who, by previous arrangement, is conducting a covert meeting with the driver.

Furthermore, cabs, courier vans, school buses, ice cream trucks, and other such ubiquitous commercial vehicles provide an individual possessing malevolent intentions with the ability to unobtrusively conduct surveillance of potential targets.

Consider the case of Mir Amal Kansi, a citizen of Pakistan who, on January 25, 1993 stood outside the gates of the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia with an AK-47, opened fire and shot 5 CIA employees. Two of those he shot died while the other three, although wounded, survived.

On June 18, 1997 the New York Times article, “U.S. Seizes the Lone Suspect In Killing of 2 C.I.A. Officers” reported on Kansi’s capture and fleshed out the salient details of the case.

Here are two excerpted paragraphs from that report:

He (Kansi) applied for political asylum — the process was never completed — and moved to a friend’s apartment in Reston. After working at a string of menial jobs, he was hired in mid-1992 at a courier service that had the necessary security clearances to make deliveries to the intelligence agency.

By late 1992, Federal investigators believe, the suspect had resolved to make a violent statement against the United States. They know that he bought an AK-47 rifle from a gun shop in Chantilly, VA., in January 1993. They interviewed his roommate, Zahed Ahmad Mir, who they said told them that Mr. Kansi wanted to use that rifle to attack a symbol of the United States — the White House or the C.I.A.

Whether Kansi was acting independently and was self-motivate or acting on orders from others, the bottom line is that he carried out a deadly terror attack inside the United States and Americans died.

For a terrorist, a driver’s license can be tantamount to a “license to kill.”

There have been other examples of terrorists and criminals who have been able to game the visa process and the program by which applications for immigration benefits in order to defraud those systems and gain entry into the United States and/or embed themselves in communities across the country.

On December 19, 2014 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) posted my latest commentary:  “Obama’s ‘Gift’ to International Terrorists: Immigration Executive Action.”

The Fall 2013 edition of the quarterly journal, “The Social Contract” contained my article, “Political Asylum: Where Compassion and National Security Intersect.”

When politicians invoke the term “compassion” in discussing immigration, the time has long come for concerns about compassion to apply to Americans before it applies to anyone else, from anywhere else.


Michael W. Cutler is a former Special Agent with the INS, where his career spanned nearly 30 years. Mr. Cutler has provided expert witness testimony at more than a dozen Congressional hearings. He has testified before the 9/11 Commission and regularly provides expert testimony at state legislative hearings and in trials where immigration is at issue. Michael Cutler can be reached through his website, that contains his commentaries, Congressional testimony and links to his appearances on national television news programs and other public venues.


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