Fort Dix Plot: Complaint and Summary

I have uploaded the criminal complaint and affidavits in support (Hat Tip to Bobby Chesney) regarding the criminal charges against Islamist militants seeking to attack personnel at Fort Dix New Jersey.  I grew up in New Jersey near Fort Monmouth (referenced in the complaint) and when I was in the Army trained at Fort Dix on occasion, so this story hits close to home (literally).

According to the Washington Post:

Federal authorities have arrested six New Jersey men for allegedly plotting an attack against the Fort Dix military base, federal officials said today.

The plan, reported this morning by New York’s WNBC television and confirmed to The Washington Post by officials from the FBI and the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office, involved storming the base with automatic weapons and attempting to kill as many soldiers and other personnel as possible. The World War I-era base is approximately 17 miles from Trenton in central New Jersey and is used now as a training and mobilization site for U.S. Army reservists.

The complaint charges conspiracy to kill U.S. employees in violation of 18 USC 1114 and possession of firearms by an illegal alien in violation 18 USC 922(g)(5).

Four of the men are from Albania, one is from Turkey and one is from Jordan.  At least three are illegally residing in the United States.  The group has 10 men, only 6 of whom were arrested, so more arrests may be on the way.

Federal officials were tipped off to the group after members brought a DVD to a store for duplication.  On that video 10 young men were seen firing assault weapons at a range and while “calling for jihad and shouting in Arabic “Allah Akhbar”.  Using a paid informant, the FBI later infiltrated the group and consensually recorded conversations during meetings and telephone calls.

The complaint details how members of the group observed jihadist recruiting and training videos.  The videos viewed included recruitment messages from Osama Bin Laden and the martyrdom videos of two September 11th hijackers as well as videos of armed attacks on and the killing of U.S. military personnel.  One recording made by the informant included details of a planned attack against Ft. Dix and a nearby naval base (Lakehurst NAS).  The plan called for using six or seven jihadis armed with RPGs or other weapons to kill at least one hundred soldiers.

An excerpt from the recording is included in the complaint, the conversation is between Mohamad Shnewer and the informant :

“If you want to do anything here, there is Fort Dix and I don’t want to exaggerate, and I assure you that you can hit an American base very easily.” 

“You take a map and draw it and then you calculate that there are areas where 100-200 individuals and you should allocate 6-7 persons for this alone.”  

“When you go to a military base,  you need mortars and RPGs.”   

“…I am at your services as you have more experience than me in military matters and in life.”  

The informant also detailed how the group conducted surveillance of the bases:

When discussing the naval base Shnewer said: “Maybe it is easy to hit them, there are nights where the squad is out and doing exercises without weapons… the only problem is they may have protection and scouts watching.  You know what we can do is go one day to a nearby restaurant and observe the whole base.” 

When discussing how to conduct the surveillance the informant and Shnewer discussed using a cell phone camera:

“Same thing for Fort Dix, you cannot take pictures as it is very difficult to do so.  You know what, we can take pictures by using the phone and you make as if you are talking on the cell phone and you will take a video… In Fort Dix, yeah, while you are driving, we will drive slow and what is nice with the phone is that if you are stopped by police, you will delete it from memory.” 

In a later recorded conversation details of the plan emerged:

“My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers…” As Shnewer and the informant drove into a specific area at Fort Dix, Shnewer said “…this is exactly what we are looking for.  You hit 4,5, 0r 6 humvees and light the whole place [up] and retreat completely without any losses.”  

Later regarding Lakehurst:

“This is going to be easier to hit specially if you have 8 or 9 shooting with machine guns and they are good shooters.”  

The affidavit also includes discussions about skipping the Fort Dix plot in favor of an attack on the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia:

“Quite honestly there is the Navy base… You know where the stadiums are in Philadelphia?  There is the Navy base and every year they have the Army-Navy ball game and they come and stay one or two weeks… the Navy base will then be full of people… You see this is an opportunity and the beauty of this location specially if you have the proper weaponry, is that you can hit it from where, do you know?  From New Jersey.” 

I have uploaded the complaint in full here.