On the heels of pressing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson for information on the immigration and criminal histories of Roberto Carlos Flores Sibrian — who was arrested November 17 and charged with rape and aggravated sexual battery after he allegedly struck the vehicle of a woman with his car, dragged the driver into a ditch and raped her for two hours near Fredericksburg, Va. in October, House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today demanded Johnson for information on two men convicted in the United States for conspiring with ISIS.
Goodlatte explained in his announcement that, “In June 2016, Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi were convicted of conspiring to provide material support for ISIS, along with other terrorism-related and fraud charges, and recently sentenced to imprisonment for 30 years. Both men used social media to discuss terrorist attacks and expressed a desire to die as martyrs. Some media reports indicate that Elhuzayel is a citizen of Israel and a naturalized citizen of the United States, while others reflect that he was born in the United States. According to reports, Badawi is a citizen of Sudan. Both were residents of Anaheim, California at the time of their arrests.”
According to the Department of Justice’s criminal complaint, one of the men “attempted to travel to the Middle East to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization – of conspiring to provide material support to ISIL.”
Nader Elhuzayel, 25, and Muhanad Badawi, 25, both of Anaheim, California, were convicted in US District Court for the Central District of California following a two-week trial. Elhuzayel was found guilty of attempting to provide material support and Badawi was found guilty of aiding and abetting the attempt to provide material support to ISIL.
“Foreign terrorist fighters have traveled from countries around the world to join ISIL and are responsible for some of the most despicable acts of violence committed by the terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “ISIL depends on these travelers as a significant part of its fighting force. Stopping Americans from engaging in terrorist activity on behalf of ISIL here or abroad will remain one of the highest priorities of the National Security Division.”
“These two defendants betrayed their country and sought to join ISIL, a terrorist organization dedicated to brutally murdering innocent people,” Decker said. “The FBI and the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force did outstanding work in investigating and apprehending these men before their plans could be completed. The fine work of law enforcement undoubtedly saved lives, both in the United States and abroad.”
“These convictions are a message to those who aim to travel to take up arms with ISIL and to those whosupport them – the FBI and our partners are determined to thwart your efforts,” said Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office Deirdre Fike. “The JTTF’s proactive identification of these subjects and disruption of a terrorist conspiracy is a coup in the fight against the scourge of ISIL. At trial, the jury heard evidence that Mr. Badawi also encouraged other associates to support ISIL and participate in violent jihad. This is a reminder that our work is not done and the public must remain steadfast and report suspicious behavior, whether that behavior is carried out in person or online.”
In addition to the terrorism-related counts, Elhuzayel was found guilty of 26 counts of bank fraud, and Badawi was found guilty of one count of federal financial aid fraud.
Both men were arrested on May 21, 2015 when Elhuzayel attempted to board a plane at Los Angeles International Airport to travel to Turkey to join ISIL. Badawi had purchased for Elhuzayel a one-way ticket to Israel with a layover in Istanbul.
Badawi and Elhuzayel used social media to discuss ISIL and terrorist attacks, expressed a desire to die as martyrs and made arrangements for Elhuzayel to leave the United States to join ISIL. In recorded conversations, Badawi and Elhuzayel discussed “how it would be a blessing to fight for the cause of Allah, and to die in the battlefield.”
The evidence at trial also showed Badawi had a Facebook account on which he made posts that supported ISIL and violence aimed at non-Muslims, and said he intended to join the terrorist organization. Elhuzayel also had a Facebook account and used the ISIL flag as his profile picture. According to court documents, on Oct. 21, 2014, Badawi made a video of Elhuzayel in which Elhuzayel swore allegiance to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL, and pledged to travel to Syria to be an ISIL fighter.
Elhuzayel was convicted of obtaining cash through a scheme to defraud three different banks by depositing stolen checks into his personal checking accounts and then withdrawing cash at branch offices and ATMs in Orange County. The money generated from the bank fraud was to finance his travel to Syria to join ISIL.
Badawi was convicted of using his federal financial aid to purchase a plane ticket for Elhuzayel to travel to Turkey.
In his letter to Johnson, Goodlatte called on DHS to provide Elhuzayel and Badawi’s immigration and criminal histories to the House Judiciary Committee “in order to understand how they became radicalized and whether there were indicators of their radicalization that DHS should have been aware of prior to their arrest.”
“Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi were convicted of conspiring to provide material support for ISIS, along with other terrorism-related and fraud charges June 21, 2016. Both men were sentenced to imprisonment for 30 years on September 26 and October 19, respectively. Their plot involved facilitating Elhuzayel’s travel abroad to join ISIS fighters. Both used social media to discuss terrorist attacks and expressed a desire to die as martyrs,” Goodlatte told Johnson.
Goodlatte said, “Some media reports indicate that Elhuzayel is a citizen of Israel and a naturalized citizen of the United States, while others reflect that he was born in the United States. According to reports, Badawi is a citizen of Sudan. Both were residents of Anaheim, California at the time of their arrests.”
“It is important for the committee to understand how Elhuzayel and Badawi became radicalized and to determine whether there were indicators of their radicalization that DHS should have been aware of prior to their arrest,” Goodlatte told Johnson, noting, “Therefore, please provide a briefing to committee staff on this case on or before December 13, 2016. Additionally, please provide the following information no later than December 15, 2016:”
- The alien registration numbers for Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi, if any, their complete, unredacted alien files (A-file), including any temporary files, working files, or Service Center files, and all documents and items contained in them, all documents generated by DHS or in its possession about them, whether currently in written or electronic form, including, but not limited to, all Reports of Investigation (ROI), executive summaries, criminal histories and immigration summaries, detainers or requests for notification, I-213(s) and Notice(s) to Appear or other charging documents created to seek their removal from the United States.
- Please identify each and every date on which Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi were encountered by a law enforcement agency in the United States, to include criminal and civil arrests, the nature of the charge, the jurisdiction where the arrest occurred, the disposition of each charge, the date(s) on which they were released from the custody of that law enforcement agency, and the reason(s) for the release. Please provide the arrest and disposition documentation for each encounter.
- How and when did Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi enter the United States? Were they ever served with a Notice to Appear? Was it filed with an immigration court? Please explain.
- Have Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi been removed previously? If so, when?
- Has ICE issued a detainer or request for notification to any entity regarding Nader Elhuzayel or Muhanad Badawi? Please explain.