Al Qaeda search

Ahmed Allali (search), who was charged Wednesday, falsely claimed he knew members of the terrorist group and that he knew of a cell planning to detonate bombs in five major U.S. cities in early 2005, said Susan W. Brooks, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

Allali, who was ordered deported after entering the United States with a fraudulent passport in 1998, made up the story after his November arrest in Indianapolis (search) on a deportation warrant, according to a probable cause affidavit. Late last year, Allali acknowledged he knew no one associated with a terrorist network, the affidavit said.

Brooks said the investigation of Allali's claims tied up hundreds of agents nationwide, diverting resources from other terrorist leads.

"A lot of taxpayer dollars devoted to a lie," she said.

Allali, 36, was charged with three counts of making false statements to federal investigators, a news release said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon M. Jackson said he faces possible prison time and a fine.

Allali had told investigators he had lived overseas with Al Qaeda members in the late 1990s and that he had traveled with them to the United States, Brooks said.

Allali's federal defense attorney Bill Marsh said he did not know if Allali was employed, but another attorney who handled a bankruptcy proceeding for the defendant said he once operated an Indianapolis gas station.