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Terror

Americans suspected of terror-related activities

Americans who have been charged or suspected of terror-related activities over the past year include:

—Young Somali men from Minneapolis who left the U.S. in waves from December 2007 through November 2008 to join a Somalia-based terror group with links to al-Qaida. Family members say the men were good kids and only a few had run-ins with police. An uncle of one of the men said his nephew was more interested in the NBA than anything going on in Somalia. Some may have struggled to find their own identity, with knowledge of Somalia gleaned from the Internet, books and stories from older relatives.

—Bryant Neal Vinas, 23, a U.S.-born al-Qaida recruit from Long Island, N.Y. "I consulted with a senior al-Qaida leader and provided detailed information about the operation of the Long Island Rail Road system which I knew because I had ridden the railroad on many occasions," Vinas told a judge in a secret guilty plea to terrorism charges. His cooperation with U.S. investigators was hailed as a major intelligence breakthrough to understanding how would-be jihadists from the West find terror trainers in remote regions of Pakistan.

—Abdulhakim Muhammad, 23, who in June 2009 allegedly shot and killed a soldier at a military recruiting center in Arkansas. Muhammad, who changed his name from Carlos Bledsoe when he converted to Islam, grew up in the Memphis, Tenn., area and then traveled to Yemen, returning to the U.S. in 2008. Since the shooting, in a two-page letter to the judge presiding over his case, Muhammad has described himself as a soldier in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and called the shooting "a jihadi attack."

—Daniel Boyd, 39, a North Carolina Muslim convert accused of leading a group of men who planned to kidnap, maim and kill people in other countries in the name of jihad. Boyd decried the U.S. military, praised the honor in martyrdom, bemoaned the struggle of Muslims and said "I love jihad" on audiotapes obtained by federal authorities. Unlike many of the other recent suspects, Boyd allegedly nursed his ambitions for jihad for decades.

—Najibullah Zazi, 24, an Afghan-American al-Qaida recruit from Queens who pleaded guilty in February as the leader of a plot to bomb the New York subway system. Zazi's admitted conspiracy involved what Attorney General Eric Holder called one of the most serious plots the U.S. has faced since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. His failed plan, like that of Vinas, points to the reach of anti-U.S. terror networks in Pakistan. "I would sacrifice myself to bring attention to what the U.S. military was doing to civilians in Afghanistan," Zazi said in court.

—David Headley, 49, a Pakistani-American from Chicago charged with conspiring to attack the Copenhagen newspaper that ran cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Headley is also suspected of helping to plan the deadly 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, India, by traveling to that city and helping case targets for gunmen who arrived later. "I feel disposed towards violence for the offending parties," Headley wrote on an Internet discussion group.

—Maj. Nidal Hasan, 39, a U.S.-born Army psychiatrist of Palestinian descent, who is charged in a shooting rampage on the Army post in Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people. The Hasan case prompted a slew of finger-pointing among government agencies over why more action wasn't taken when red flags appeared, particularly his e-mail contact with a radical cleric in Yemen.

—Five Pakistani-American men from Northern Virginia, ranging in age from 19 to 25, who were arrested in Pakistan for possible links to terrorism. In a farewell video left by the men, one person made references to the ongoing conflict in the world and said young Muslims have to do something. The men were arrested in Pakistan and face charges there after what police say was a failed attempt to join militants fighting U.S. forces.

—Colleen LaRose, 46, a Muslim convert from Pennsylvania who allegedly called herself "Jihad Jane," and recruited people on the Internet to kill a Swedish cartoonist who offended Muslims by depicting the Prophet Mohammed in his drawings. In a YouTube video she posted in June 2008, LaRose said she was "desperate to do something somehow to help" ease the suffering of Muslims.

—Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, 31, a Colorado Muslim convert who was detained in Ireland during the investigation into an alleged plot to kill the Swedish cartoonist. Paulin-Ramirez, whom her mother described as a troubled single mother who had the "mentality of an abused woman," was later released without charge. When Paulin-Ramirez discussed jihad with her stepfather, a Muslim convert of 40 years, she said she would strap on a bomb for the cause, her mother said.

—Sharif Mobley, 26, a New Jersey man of Somali descent, who is under arrest in Yemen, suspected of ties to al-Qaida and killing a guard in a failed escape attempt. During his time in the United States, Mobley passed a criminal background check and worked as a laborer at a number of nuclear power plants. There is no indication that his work had any connection to his alleged involvement with terrorists. A former friend said Mobley became increasingly radicalized in his Muslim beliefs before he moved to Yemen.

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