Just the name says so much -- Jihad Jack.
Otherwise known as Jack Thomas, Jihad Jack is an Australian convert to Islam who took the Muslim name of Jihad and ended up at an al Qaeda training camp in 2001. He gets a gleam in his eyes as he describes Osama bin Laden "float across the room." By his own admission, he was offered cash and a plane ticket by one of bin Laden's top lieutenants to go back to Australia, under no illusion that it was for anything but terrorism.
Does the story sound familiar? Maybe you're thinking of John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, who is now in a U.S. prison? He also went to Afghanistan, the same training camp, in fact, and was also someone al Qaeda wanted to recruit. Both men are converts to Islam and terrorism experts say they are prized catches for al Qaeda -- basically white guys who can blend back into their own societies.
Which makes you wonder: How many Jihad Jacks are out there? And what made him and others like him go to Afghanistan in the first place?
This week, an Australian court convicted Jihad Jack of intentionally receiving funds from al Qaeda and possessing a falsified passport. But he was acquitted of intentionally providing resources to al Qaeda.
Tonight, you'll hear an interview Jihad Jack did with an Australian TV program. He discusses his conversion to Islam and his journey to Afghanistan, but swears he never planned to attack his countrymen. He says he took the money because he felt he was owed it.