Are U.S. Prisons Terrorist Breeding Grounds?
LOS ANGELES – Federal investigators have found evidence that California prisons may be a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists.
According to the FBI, Levar Washington (search), 25, being held for robbery charges, was found with jihadist materials and a list of potential targets in his apartment when he was taken in to custody. Officials said some of the targets included Los Angeles-area synagogues, National Guard facilities and the El Al Airline ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport.
Authorities said Washington had connections to a radical prison gang called the Assembly of Authentic Islam (search) in the California state prison in Sacramento.
Two other men in custody in Los Angeles also are suspected of being linked to this alleged terror plot.
Officials believe the attacks were planned for on or around Sept. 11 (search) of this year.
Washington had previously spent five years in the Sacramento-area prison on robbery charges and, according to law enforcement sources, the FBI is looking into the possibility that he may have been groomed for terrorist activity in prison.
“People are being radicalized in our prisons; this is something that we have to understand,” said Rep. Jane Harman (search), D-Calif.
“It's certainly fine with me for people to practice whatever religion in prison," she said. "I think that's a good thing, and consistent with our values, but if they are being taught to be terrorists in prison, that's not OK.”
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Anita Vogel.