U.S. prosecutors have charged a third man, Ahmed Abassi, in connection to the alleged plot to attack a passenger train between the U.S. and Canada. He is accused of fraudulently applying for a work visa in order to stay in the U.S. to pursue terrorist activity. Prosecutors also say he “radicalized” one of the other men in the alleged plot, Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian-born Montreal-resident, who was previously arrested in Canada.
From the FBI’s press release:
Abassi, who previously resided in Canada, traveled to the United States in mid-March 2013, where he remained until his arrest. While in the United States, Abassi, who was under surveillance by law enforcement agents at all times, maintained regular contact with an FBI undercover officer (the UC) and also met with Chiheb Esseghaier in New York City. Esseghaier, who was recently arrested in Canada and is currently incarcerated there on terrorism charges, was previously radicalized by Abassi. During Abassi’s discussions with Esseghaier and with the UC, which were recorded by the UC, Abassi discussed his desire to engage in terrorist acts against targets in the United States and other countries and his intention to provide support and funding to organizations engaged in terrorist activity—including the al Nusrah Front, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of State as an alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq—and to recruit other individuals for terrorist plots. In particular, Abassi discussed with the UC a number of individuals known to Abassi and/or to his associates, whom he described as like- minded and who, in his view, would be willing to engage in terrorist activity.
On April 12, 2013, Abassi and the UC discussed Abassi’s efforts to recruit others for terrorist plots and that he might be able to obtain immigration documents to remain in the United States, purportedly in order to work for the UC’s U.S.-based company. In reality, Abassi made clear that he wanted to obtain immigration documents and to remain in the United States so that he could engage in “projects” relating to future terrorist activities, including recruitment. Thereafter, Abassi made false statements on two immigration forms, under penalty of perjury, and subsequently mailed those forms to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for processing.