Bashir the American, one of millions of a tiny itsy bitsy fringe group, inspired by devotion to the Koran, attacked a US base in Afghanistan and helped plot blowing up the NY subway system on Thanksgiving. It's peace, man. Peace. :)
Bashir, nee Bryant, was converted in a Long Island, NY mosque. It's no wonder CAIR is campaigning to keep law enforcement out of the mosques.
A 26-year-old Long Island truck driver -- who went to Pakistan to be trained by al Qaeda -- fired rockets at a US military base in Afghanistan and provided information about a possible terror attack on New York's subways, court documents revealed today.
Bryant Neal Vinas, who was born in the US and converted to Islam at a Long Island mosque, was arrested in Peshawar, Pakistan after trying to kill GIs in the September 2008 attack.
Court papers also revealed that Vinas, of Patchogue, provided al Qaeda with "expert advice and assistance" based on his "specialized knowledge" of New York's subways and the Long Island Rail Road.
After he was captured in November he provided investigators with critical information about a plot to blow up the subway systems, a law enforcement official said.
Based on his disclosures, Washington warned city officials around Thanksgiving that al Qaeda had discussed terror attacks on the city subways and other transit systems in September.
Vinas -- who also used the names "Ibrahim," "Bashir al-Ameriki" (Bashir the American) and "Ben Yameen al-Kanadee -- has been cooperating with investigators, both American and European, since his arrest.
His identity had been kept secret until court papers were unsealed today in Brooklyn federal court. He is being held at an undisclosed location.
Vinas was described as a former truck driver and car wash worker -- who also had "specialized knowledge" of the "communications equipment and personnel" of the city subway system and LIRR.
Court papers said Vinas received "military-type training" from al Qaeda, apparently from May 2008 until his capture.
He is believed to have information about two terror cases in Europe and may be a prosecution witness against al Qaeda members who trained with him in Pakistan.
UPDATE: The LA Times has much more here:
It is a massive case," said a U.S. Justice Department official.
Vinas abruptly left home in September 2007 after talking about wanting to study Islam and Arabic, his father said. A year later, after a truck bomb killed 55 people at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, FBI agents from the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed the family, relatives said.
Notorious converts from that era include Adam Gadahn, a fugitive propaganda chief; fellow Californian John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban" serving a 20-year prison sentence; and Jose Padilla, a former street gang member convicted in 2007 of terror-related crimes after allegations of a "dirty bomb" plot were dropped.
After Al Qaeda lost its Afghan sanctuary, the increasingly difficult and dangerous route to the network's new base in Pakistan has dissuaded many extremists. One of the few Americans recently accused of joining the core Al Qaeda network is Syed Hashmi, a Brooklyn College graduate who journeyed to his native Pakistan in 2003. He awaits trial on charges of providing material support to the terror network.
He told his father he attended a mosque and community center about eight miles away in Selden, the Islamic Assn. of Long Island.
The worshipers at the area's oldest mosque, a white wood building that used to be an Episcopalian church, are predominantly Pakistanis. The mosque president, pharmacist Nayyar Imam, does not recall Vinas. He said in an interview that he talks periodically to the FBI and Homeland Security agency and stays alert for suspicious behavior.
"I keep an eye like a hawk on this place," Imam said.
On the other hand, a former FBI counter-terrorism official said suspected extremists have been identified at the mosque.