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The Seattle man who plotted to attack the Seattle Military Processing Center was sentenced on Monday to 18 years in prison by Judge James Robart in U.S. District Court.
34-year-old Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, aka Joseph Anthony Davis pleaded guilty in December of 2012 to conspiracy to murder officers and agents of the United States and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.
Davis could have received as much as life in prison for his crimes. Davis has a history as an ex-con with a record of robbery and assault.
It was in June 2011 that Davis and another defendant in the case, 33-year-old Walli Mujahidh, plotted to carry out an attack, using hand grenades and machine guns, to kill recuits at the military Entrance Processing Center in Seattle. Their motive for attack was to exact revenge for atrocities by U.S. sodiers in Afghanistan as well as discourage recruits.
The MES houses many civilian and military employees, is where each branch of the service screens and processes enlistees and also had a federal daycare center onsite.
Long before that however, Davis had caught the eye of FBI. The FBI performed a records search and began monitoring Davis and his wife a few months after Davis began posting YouTube videos expressing support for Islamic fighters.
An acquaintance was recruited in early June to help with the plot spawned by Davis and his associate Mujahidh, unbeknownced to the two, the person they recruited and was to supply the weapons, reported it to the authorities. By, June 9th, a secret warrant was issued under the Foreign Intelligence Sureillance Act or FISA Act.
Investigators collected 1,800 pages of emails, YouTube messages and wiretapped Davis’s phone. Together with information from their informant, the FBI was ready when Davis and his accomplice traveled to a Seattle warehouse to pick up the weapons to be used in the attack.
Authorities had previously rendered the weapons inoperable and the two were arrested on June 22nd, when they took possession of the guns and grenades.
“This defendant planned to attack a military center when there would be the largest possible gathering of new recruits and their families. He targeted young men and women solely because they wanted to serve our country. His goal: to inspire others with a message of hate,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “His plot was disrupted by vigilance in our community and good work by law enforcement. I commend the Seattle Police and the FBI for their work and thank the leaders of our Muslim communities who work tirelessly to ensure the acts of extremists are not used to condemn their faith.”
“Countless innocent people targeted by Mr. Abdul-Latif are safe thanks to the vigilance of Seattle’s Muslim community and the dedicated work of law enforcement partners,” said Laura M. Laughlin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle Office. “The plot may have been thwarted, but its mere existence and the extremist thinking behind it are despicable. I hope that Mr. Abdul-Latif uses his years in prison to reflect on what it means to be a true member of an American community, built on respect for all.”
“I am pleased with the outcome of this very important joint agency investigation. With support from the Muslim community and the diligent work of Seattle Police detectives and our federal partners, a dangerous man will spend a long time behind bars and our community will be safer for it,” said Seattle Police Chief John Diaz.
In addition to his 18-year prison term, Davis received an imposition of ten-years of supervised release. Judge Robart said that Davis’s plot “could have done incredible harm if it had gone forward.”
Davis’s accomplice will be sentenced on April 8th, 2013.