NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A British computer specialist tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Arizona in 1998 and met with Islamic radicals there who claimed ties to Usama bin Laden (search), a government attorney said.
Babar Ahmad (search), who is being held in London on charges he ran terrorist fund-raising Web sites, met in Phoenix with Yaser Al Jhani, a member of the Islamic mujahedeen militia, and others who said they had access to bin Laden, said John Hardy, a British lawyer representing the U.S. government.
"He expressed an interest in developing a training system in Arizona," Hardy said in an interview Wednesday. "That is, a training system, in effect for the mujahedeen to visit and train to fight abroad."
Hardy was hired to help extradite Ahmad to the United States. Ahmad's extradition hearing began Wednesday in London.
Ahmad's Web site allegedly encouraged people to train in street combat, land mine operations and sniper combat. While in Phoenix, he practiced using some weapons, Hardy said.
Details of the Phoenix trip were outlined in a report by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Appleton, who would prosecute the case in Connecticut because one of the Web sites was hosted here.
Hardy summarized the report, which prosecutors plan to present as evidence at Ahmad's extradition hearing. There was no evidence in the report that Ahmad successfully set up the camp, he said.
The report, which has not been released to the public, does not mention any attacks on U.S. targets, Hardy said.
"Mr. Ahmad was not inclined to conduct terrorist strikes in the states because he didn't want to jeopardize the use of the United States as a valuable source of resources," Hardy said.