November 18, 2009
Contact:
Emerson Brown, NPR


   

NPR NEWS EXCLUSIVE:

EIGHT EXPECTED TO BE CHARGED WITH TERRORISM OFFENSES TODAY
RELATED TO DISAPPEARANCE OF YOUNG SOMALI-AMERICANS IN MINNEAPOLIS

NPR'S DINA TEMPLE-RASTON REPORTS THAT TODAY'S CHARGES BRING
TOTAL ARRESTS TO 14: ONE OF THE LARGEST DOMESTIC TERRORISM INVESTIGATIONS SINCE 9/11

November 23, 2009; Washington, D.C. NPR is exclusively reporting that a federal judge in Minneapolis is set to unseal a roster of documents charging as many as eight new people with terrorism offenses related to the disappearance of young Somali-Americans to fight for a terrorist organization in Somalia. NPR News' counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston reports that the documents, set to be released later this afternoon, will include indictments and criminal complaints against a handful of people the FBI believes helped some two dozen young Somali-Americans join the ranks of an Islamist militia in Somalia called al-Shabab.

Temple-Raston first reported this news at 1PM (ET) in the NPR Newscast. Her full report is available now at: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120683051

Government officials tell Temple-Raston that they will be revealing details of the more than year-long investigation at a press briefing in Minneapolis later today. The FBI has already arrested and charged six people with terrorism offenses related to this case. With the unsealing of today's documents, there could be as many as 14 people implicated -- making this one of the largest domestic terrorism investigations since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Citing sources close to the investigation, Temple-Raston has learned that the eight individuals to be charged were loosely linked to al-Shabab, and radicalized, recruited and sent young men from the Somali community in the Twin Cities to fight for the group. She reports that the first group left Minneapolis for Somalia in 2007 and the most recent on inauguration day of this year, and all fit a similar pattern: most were good students in high school or college, and living with single mothers.

And, despite today's impending charges, NPR reports that the push to get young men to Somalia doesn't seem to have stopped -- last month, a man was arrested for lying to FBI agents about driving Somali-Americans from Minneapolis across the country. Temple-Raston reports that one of the young men in the car had a passport and $4,000 cash, and the other two young men tried to leave the U.S. through Mexico two days later. That incident is also expected to be addressed at today's press conference.

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News. Television usage must include on-screen credit with NPR logo. Temple-Raston has continuously advanced this story since it first broke this winter; her prior reports are available at NPR.org.