Cudahy mom charged in ter­ror­ism plot

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Front Page - Cary Spi­vak and John Diedrich

A Cudahy woman hacked so­cial me­dia ac­counts, in­clud­ing Face­book, to re­cruit on be­half of the Is­lamic State ter­ror­ist group and to pro­vide in­struc­tion on such ter­ror­ism ba­sics as mak­ing ex­plo­sives and bi­o­log­i­cal weapons in­clud­ing ricin, ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral crim­i­nal com­plaint.

Wa­heba Issa Dais, a 45-year-old mother of two, is in fed­eral cus­tody af­ter be­ing charged with pro­vid­ing “ma­te­rial sup­port or re­sources to a for­eign ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion,” the crim­i­nal com­plaint states. She ap­peared be­fore a fed­eral mag­is­trate Wed­nes­day and is sched­uled to re­turn to court Fri­day to de­ter­mine bail.

Dais “helped fa­cil­i­tate plan­ning for at­tacks in the United States on be­half of ISIS and over­seas by pro-

vid­ing in­struc­tions on how to make ex­plo­sives, bi­o­log­i­cal weapons and sui­cide vests,” ac­cord­ing to an FBI af­fi­davit used to sup­port the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

In ad­di­tion, the af­fi­davit said, she “pro­vided de­tailed in­struc­tions to peo­ple in­ter­ested in at­tacks and at­tack plan­ning. Dais has also ex­pressed a per­sonal de­sire to travel over­seas in sup­port of ISIS.”

Dais, a na­tive of Jerusalem, was al­lowed to come to the U.S. in 1992 with­out a pass­port be­cause of her mar­riage to a U.S. cit­i­zen. The cou­ple di­vorced in 2003, ac­cord­ing to court records. She is now a law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dent who the FBI be­lieves does not work out­side the home.

“The Depart­ment of Jus­tice’s top pri­or­ity is to pre­vent ter­ror­ism and en­sure na­tional se­cu­rity,” U.S. At­tor­ney Matthew Krueger said.

Ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit, Dais pledged her al­le­giance to the Is­lamic State, also known by the acro­nym ISIS. She has hacked var­i­ous so­cial me­dia ac­counts, post­ing fake names and pho­tos, to pro­mote ISIS and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on launch­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks us­ing ex­plo­sive belts, it said. One post­ing dis­cusses how to in­tro­duce ricin, a deadly poi­son, into wa­ter reser­voirs in the U.S.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion ap­pears to have started in Jan­uary af­ter Face­book se­cu­rity told the FBI that there was a “Wis­con­sin-based user post­ing de­tailed in­struc­tions on how to make ex­plo­sive vest bombs in sup­port of ISIS,” the af­fi­davit states. The per­son be­hind the Face­book posts, who the FBI said they de­ter­mined was Dais, “also ap­peared to be en­gaged in de­tailed ques­tion and an­swer ses­sions dis­cussing sub­stances used to make bombs.”

The af­fi­davit also said she col­lects in­for­ma­tion on the “best ex­plo­sives and bi­o­log­i­cal weapons tech­niques in or­der to pass this in­for­ma­tion onto would-be ISIS at­tack­ers.”

Agents de­ter­mined that Dais hacked nu­mer­ous Face­book ac­counts from un­wit­ting vic­tims and changed the pro­file pic­ture, friends list and dis­play name, the af­fi­davit said.

The Face­book pic­ture used on some of the hacked ac­counts was of a young girl wear­ing a blue dress, the FBI said, adding that the pic­ture was taken “as part of a se­ries doc­u­ment­ing Yazidi, a mi­nor­ity pop­u­la­tion in north­ern Iraq, flee­ing their home­town to es­cape vi­o­lence caused by the Is­lamic State mil­i­tants.”

Pros­e­cu­tors in Mil­wau­kee have charged other ter­ror­ism-re­lated cases in re­cent years.

Samy Hamzeh was ar­rested in Jan­uary 2016 and charged with plot­ting to kill 30 peo­ple at a Ma­sonic cen­ter in Mil­wau­kee to “de­fend Is­lam.” Hamzeh’s at­tor­ney has said that his client was en­trapped by FBI in­for­mants. A trial is set for Au­gust. A trial has been de­layed sev­eral times as de­fense at­tor­neys have tack­led a moun­tain of ev­i­dence in­clud­ing lengthy record­ings.

In Oc­to­ber, two men were charged in fed­eral court with try­ing to join ISIS. Jason Michael Ludke and Yos­vany Padil­laConde were charged with at­tempt­ing to pro­vide sup­port to a for­eign ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion af­ter a se­ries of on­line con­ver­sa­tions with an un­der­cover FBI em­ployee in which they pro­fessed al­le­giance to the Is­lamic State. They are due back in court later this month.

Last June, a man was charged in state court with mak­ing a bomb threat. When se­cu­rity of­fi­cials at the fed­eral court­house asked Mo­hamad T. Ham­dan for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, he be­gan yelling “Jiha” and “Malakum” and “Al­lah.” Ham­dan was found not guilty by rea­son of men­tal de­fect and was or­dered into treat­ment.

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