FBI: Al Qaeda plot possibly uncovered
LODI, California (CNN) -- A fifth member of the Pakistani community in Lodi, California, was arrested in a federal terror investigation, although none of the five has been charged with terrorism involvement.
Mohammed Hassan Adil, 19, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on an immigration violation on Wednesday, according to ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.
Adil is the son of Lodi Muslim leader Muhammed Adil Khan, who was detained Sunday along with Lodi Mosque Imam Shabbir Ahmed, both of whom were held on similar immigration charges, according to Kice. All three men are Pakistani natives.
Authorities earlier this week arrested a father and son, identified as 47-year-old Umer Hayat and 22-year-old Hamid Hayat from Lodi, on charges they lied to FBI investigators. The son is to be arraigned Friday.
They have not been charged with terrorist involvement, although a criminal complaint alleges the son attended an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan.
"We believe through our investigation that various individuals connected to al Qaeda have been operating in the Lodi area in various capacities," FBI special agent-in-charge Keith Slotter told reporters Wednesday.
He said those included "individuals who have received terrorist training abroad, with the specific intent to initiate a terrorist attack in the United States and to harm Americans and our institutions."
Slotter said, however, no evidence has been found of specific plans, targets or timing of a possible attack. He said more arrests were possible.
An affidavit describing the alleged activities of the Hayats was unsealed Tuesday evening by the federal court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento. Lodi is 35 miles south of Sacramento.
In the affidavit, the younger Hayat admitted that he attended the al Qaeda-supported camp and that during his weapons training, photographs of "various high-ranking U.S. political figures, including President Bush, would be pasted on their targets."
Sacramento attorney Johnny Griffin III, who represents the father, acknowledged the affidavit is "very alarming." But, he said, "we must keep in mind they are not charged with any terrorist activity. They are only charged with making false statements."
Both Hayats are U.S. citizens; Hamid Hayat was born in California, the affidavit says.
Papers filed in federal court said Hamid Hayat eventually admitted to interrogators that he attended a terror training camp funded and operated by al Qaeda near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, for six months in 2003 and 2004.
Terror expert Peter Bergen cast doubt on that detail.
"I'm a little skeptical of that, after all, the Pakistani government has been on a pretty massive campaign against al Qaeda in Pakistan and the affidavit in this case is suggesting that the training camp was near Rawalpindi," Bergen said. "Well, Rawalpindi happens to be the Pakistani Army headquarters, right next to Pakistan's capital. To me, its seems extremely improbable that an al Qaeda training camp with hundreds of people would be in that location."
Instead, Bergen suggested, the camp might have been aimed at training Pakistanis for action in the disputed Kashmir region.
Another point of confusion came when the government issued a second version of the affidavit that excluded key details, including the name of the man who allegedly operated the training camp. The first affidavit, which apparently was a draft copy, said Hayat told them the camp was operated by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a friend of his maternal grandfather.
It is unclear why the FBI removed the name from the final version filed with the court, but the name is significant.
There are two prominent Pakistanis with that name.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil has long been suspected of running training camps in Pakistan. Khalil, a Hezbi mujahedeen, has on several occasions been detained and questioned by Pakistani authorities.
In 1998, Khalil was the only mujahedeen leader to hold a news conference after the United States fired cruise missiles at a training camp in an attempt to kill Osama bin Laden. At the time, Khalil said more than a dozen of his people had been killed, and he vowed revenge against the United States.
The other Maulana Fazlur Rehman is leader of one of Pakistan's biggest opposition parties, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI.)
The FBI also dropped the suggestion, included in the first version of the affidavit, that the Hayats were considering hospitals and large food stores as terror targets.
At Wednesday's news conference, Slotter said that there was no evidence that those facilities have been primarily targeted "or are especially vulnerable to attack." He said the FBI had no evidence to date of any specific plans, targets or timing of a possible attack.
Islamic leaders held
The two local Islamic leaders -- Khan and Ahmed -- were detained on immigration charges and will face an immigration hearing, FBI Special Agent John Cauthen said
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the two were in custody on "administrative immigration violations for violating their religious worker visas" and no date has been set for their hearing.
Law enforcement sources told CNN investigators were looking to see if the two could have acted as a sort of "conduit" between terror groups and persons in the United States, although so far no charges have been made to that effect.
At least one of the Islamic leaders overstayed his visa, the sources said.
Khan is the former imam of the Lodi Muslim Mosque and Ahmed is the current imam, according to Lodi News-Sentinel religion reporter Ross Farrow, who has interviewed both men in the past.
Khan has been working to establish the Farooqia Islamic Center, an Islamic charter school for young children in Lodi, Farrow said.
Khan condemned the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in the days following, Farrow said.
Several months later, Khan joined the leaders of local Christian churches and a Jewish synagogue to issue a Declaration of Peace condemning terrorism and stressing the common origins of each religion, Farrow said.
CNN's Nic Robertson and Kelli Arena contributed to this report.