March 26th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Chicago man charged with supporting al Qaeda

A Chicago, Illinois, man was charged Friday with providing material support to al Qaeda by attempting to send the terrorist group funds overseas, the Department of Justice said.

The man, Raja Lahrasib Khan, also allegedly discussed attacking a stadium in the United States this summer, officials said, though they stressed that there is no imminent domestic danger.

Khan, a Chicago taxi driver who is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, was arrested by FBI officials Friday morning.

"While there was no imminent danger in the Chicago area or elsewhere, these charges ... affirm that law enforcement must remain constantly vigilant to guard against domestic support of foreign terrorist organizations," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in announcing the charges Friday.

Khan, 56, was charged with two counts of providing material support to terrorism, each carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The charges were filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago and unsealed Friday following Khan's arrest.

The investigation into Khan is continuing, officials said Friday.

Khan appeared in federal court in Chicago on Friday afternoon but won't enter a plea until a later arraignment hearing, according to Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago. Khan is being represented by the federal public defender program, Samborn said.

The complaint against Khan alleges that he attempted to transfer funds to Ilyas Kashmiri, an alleged terrorist leader who tried to help organize an attack against a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, according to U.S. officials.

Kashmiri is an alleged leader of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, a group the U.S. Justice Department said has "trained terrorists [and] executed attacks in the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Indian control."

Kashmiri also is alleged to have links with al Qaeda.

Earlier this month, a U.S.- born Chicago man who officials say had ties to Kashmiri pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges. Authorities say that man, David Headley, had planned the attack on a Danish newspaper in coordination with Kashmiri. The attack was never carried out.

The investigation leading to Khan's arrest is unrelated to the investigation that resulted in the charges against Headley and another Chicagoan, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, who is also alleged to have participated in the Denmark plot.

According to the criminal complaint against Khan, he claims to have known Ilyas Kashmiri for approximately 15 years.

The complaint says Khan has discussed meeting Kashmiri and hearing about his desire to train operatives to conduct attacks in the United States. Khan has said Kashmiri needed money to purchase materials from the "black market," according to the complaint.

The affidavit says Khan transferred roughly $950 last November to a contact in Pakistan, then instructed the contact to deliver some of the money to Kashmiri, using a nickname for him.

Khan told an undercover FBI agent that he had met Kashmiri most recently in 2008 in northwest Pakistan, the complaint says.

On March 17, after agreeing to personally deliver to Kashmiri any funds the undercover agent wanted to send, Khan accepted $1,000 from the agent, according to the complaint.

The affidavit says Khan and the undercover agent had discussed the possibility of having Khan's son transport the money from the United States to England, where Khan would meet his son, retrieve the money, and deliver it to Kashmiri in Pakistan.

On March 23, government agents at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport came into contact with Khan's son and discovered he had seven of the ten $100 bills that the undercover agent had given to Khan, according to the affidavit.

Also in March, Khan and an associate appeared to discuss bombing a stadium in the United States in August, according to the complaint. Khan said that bags with remote controlled bombs could be placed in various locations, and then "boom, boom, boom, boom," federal officials said.

Khan said that he would ask Kashmiri to teach him how to conduct such an attack, the complaint alleges.

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Filed under: National security
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Ikiro Watanabe

    The Pearl Harbor attack plan crucially depended on Japanese living in Hawaii, helping their homeland. America's open-ness is also its weakness

    March 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Eat it

    I'm not surprised a cab driver is a terrorist... not surprised at all. You know what I mean if you've ever been in a cab – regardless of the city.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Red

    The amount of ignorant responses to this article is really appalling.

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    -Benjamin Franklin.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wilben Dahl

    I remain amazed at how a segment of our population feels we should always be fair with the opposition and never raise a hand in anger. If they had been around duuring our revolt against England, they would have wanted our troops to be dressed in Bright Orange or or some other obvious way so we would give those guys in the red caots a fair chance.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    Why do we allow muslims to enter this country. We will be very sorry one day.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Prashant

    Not surpised that he was from Pakistan.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Wayne

    Tom, has it not occured to you that to get rid of the supporters our own president has to go? He is their number one supporter in the US. He has done more for them and more against the people of this country in a single year than all the terrorist have since 9/11. He has proclaimed this country to be a muslim country. What better way to distroy our country than from the inside out?

    March 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bear

    Hmmmm. Strange that these guys would spend thousands and thousands of dollars to fly between the U.S and England and England and Pakistan to hand deliver and exchange a few measly dollars. The price of the airline tickets and checked baggage alone would cost ten times more than the money passed. These guys need some of our top Wall Street financial managers....

    March 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jonalist

    LacrosseSon, my guess is that is exactly what he would want so to avoid the Turks in Turkey or Syria where they migrated then planned to attack the Israelis within Lebanon but were not so good at launching missiles. Remember Syria had used those laborers to build underground military storage dumps for missiles and other things they also imported from Palestine and Jordan just like Saddam was doing. He couldn't get a fair shake from Turkish Officials whom would have him investigated fully if they sent him there and its anyone's guess what his passport and papers would tell about the immigrant. Like I stated on #5 above, and that ties into his past friends whom were connected to Professor William Ayers a Federal employee at a University whom gets nervous from such incidents.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Barry Moretz

    Maurizio, if you really feel that way, you should support amending the constitution in order to give our federal government the authority to spy on us. You should never support ignoring the very document that defines our freedom, which is what you are now suggesting we do.

    Personally, I don't think it's very wise for us to try to win a war by destroying everything that makes our country worth fighting for in the first place. If we can't have our liberty, then what's the point? Why bother fighting?

    March 26, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. No Name

    There are some muslim countries where the citizens are brainwashed because there education in schools is based on Isamist/Jihadi ideology and are funded by Saudies and Pakistan is one of them. Another Pakistani American "David Coleman Headley" who was recently caught by FBI was involved in Mumbai attacks has thrown up Pakistan's army's officers names who were directly involved in instruction the terrorists through satellite phones. The point is the islamic terrorism is a part of Pakistani state policy which influence the common man.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mohammedkuttha

    Someome forgot to tell him that his religion is really the "religion of peace". His Imam must have been too busy preparing explovies that it just slipped his mind.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Waste of time

    How long are we going to have this "terrorist" stories haunt all of us? Read Aljazeera and they talk about zionist terrorists, read fox or cnn, you hear of islamic terrorists, read asian news and u hear of "hindu terrorists" .. Politics is messing up the future of all religions!

    March 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jonalist

    Ask the Union to see if he is a member and that gets pretty dog-gone close to the situation of street gang control cause you then know more of them are members of the Union of Taxi Drivers in Chicago. Why has the Chicago Attorney General been so dumb in starving those criminals of opportunity and have to have the Feds do the dirty work.
    Imagine getting to and from a job at the University sometime if your detained a bit. Parting of friends in high places gets hard to do when your a Fed Employee at a University and they are a Terrorist that is trying to get you to explain a few things on how to accomplish something you don't want that Professor knowing everything. If you were Ayers you would be greatful to tip the cab driver regardless of what you told him. If Ayers got itchy then he told Khan he couldn't meet with him anymore. Later Ayers could have tipped his hand to the Feds that needed a bone to chew on for a while till they decided it was time to take another tip of good faith and leap on Khan. There are more of Khan's type everywhere esp. in New York where the immigration began and the main work forces are tightly administered by the Union.

    March 26, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dean

    Unions seem to work well in many countries around the world, as a power match for companies that would take advantage of workers if not some controls in place. Germany and France are two highly unionized countries that enjoy a high standard of living. The U. S.has lost that power balance and you are seeing the results of that today in America .A once mighty industrial power reduced to corporate rubble.

    March 26, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
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