A federal grand jury has indicted Nicholas Michael Teausant for attempting to support a foreign terrorist organization. In recent months, “Assad Teausant bigolsmurf,” as he called himself online, discussed his desire to train Syrian fighters, bomb the Los Angeles subway system and launch a civil war that would topple the American government.
Teausant, 20, is a student at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California, but Taj Khan, a college board member, told reporters that Teausant was not known to Muslim American students there. Some may have regarded him as an FBI informer.
Teausant was also a member of the National Guard, assigned to the 118th Maintenance Company in Stockton. The Guard recently released Teausant reportedly because he lacked minimum qualifications. The Muslim convert had little military experience but gathered information on bomb making and jihad tactics from the English-language al-Qaida magazine Inspire.
Teausant wanted to join the ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which the indictment explains is the new name of an organization under the control of al-Qaida, a foreign terrorist organization. Teausant said “I would love to join Allah’s army” and “I want to go fight in Syria.” He would only return to America after President Obama was dead, Congress gone, and chaos prevailing across the nation. Teausant offered to make a video for the ISIS and leave his face “wide open to the camera.” He wanted to be a “commander” and if he landed on the FBI’s 12 most wanted list “that means I’m doing something right.” The aspiring terrorist was unaware that the
FBI had been on to him for months.“Assad” planned to reach Syria by flying from Canada but FBI agents arrested him on March 16 in Blaine, Washington, near the Canadian border. A Seattle magistrate returned Teausant to Sacramento where he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years.
The case drew no comment from Mohamed Abdul Aziz, leader of the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) Islamic Center and frequently interviewed in the local press. The SALAM center co-hosts events with CAIR and in 2009 Abdul Aziz was the recipient of the FBI’s community service award “for preventing violence, creating understanding, bringing people together.”
If convicted Teausant would join Hamid Hayat of Lodi, California, now serving 24 years for providing material support to terrorism. Hayat was born in the United States but spent half his life in Pakistan where he attended terrorist training camps. Last year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Hayat’s conviction. His father, Umer Hayat, also of Lodi, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in a different case and served 11 months.
The Teausant case confirms that California continues to serve as a farm team of sorts for foreign terrorist organizations. John Walker Lindh converted to Islam at 16 after seeing the movie Malcolm X. Lindh lived in northern California and attended mosques in Mill Valley and San Francisco. The Redwood High School student learned Arabic in Yemen and studied at a madrassa in Pakistan before decamping for Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban.
In 2001 U.S. troops in Afghanistan captured Lindh and in 2002 he pleaded guilty to supplying services and transporting explosives for the Taliban government. The “American Taliban,” as he became known, was sentenced to 20 years in a high-security federal prison in Terre Haute Indiana. Last year a judge ruled that Lindh must be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates. In 2019 he gains eligibility for release.
In northern California and elsewhere the FBI appears to be taking all terrorist threats seriously. Meanwhile, the Bureau has also kept busy on sting operations against corrupt state politicians.
On March 26 FBI agents raided the Sacramento offices of state senator Leland Yee, San Francisco Democrat, who faces seven charges of corruption and firearms trafficking. Among the 26 people charged is Yee’s former political consultant Keith Jackson, who served on the board of the San Francisco Unified School District. Jackson was indicted on charges of murder-for-hire and drug trafficking. Yee, a candidate for Secretary of State, could face 20 years in federal prison.
Last year the FBI raided the Sacramento offices of senator Ron Calderon, a Montebello Democrat who faces corruption charges. A Los Angeles jury recently found California state senator Rod Wright, a Baldwin Hills Democrat, guilty of voter fraud and perjury.
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