The District of Connecticut’s anti-terrorism program is a multi-pronged approach that includes the aggressive investigation and prosecution of national security matters by its counter-terrorism prosecutors and investigative agencies; an active Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (the “ATAC”); and a robust anti-terrorism training program.
The National Security and Major Crimes Unit is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of matters involving international and domestic terrorism. Raymond F. Miller is the Chief of the Unit. Stephen B. Reynolds and Krishna Patel are the Deputy Chiefs. AUSA Reynolds is also the District’s ATAC Coordinator and, accordingly, has the responsibility and authority to coordinate and manage the activities of the ATAC, including the promotion of effective interaction between the ATAC and the JTTF.
Keeping our Community Safe
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut will aggressively investigate and prosecute international and domestic terrorism-related offenses; terrorism financing offenses, including money laundering and cash smuggling; the unlawful possession or trafficking of explosive, chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials; threatening communications and terrorism-related hoaxes; cases involving the export of restricted technology; and cases involving espionage and the loss or compromise of national security information and classified materials.
Although not all of the work results in criminal cases or makes headlines, every day our Office works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal, state and local agencies on national security, counter-terrorism and intelligence matters, in order to provide legal guidance on investigative steps; to assist, as appropriate, in obtaining subpoenas, warrants, court orders, and other process to further such investigations; and to aggressively pursue and bring criminal charges when they are available.
Together with our partners in local, state and federal law enforcement, our Office has pursued or participated in a number of recent international terrorism, domestic terrorism, or national security cases, for example:
The Times Square Case. Our Office and the FBI’s JTTF participated in the successful investigation and prosecution of Bridgeport, Connecticut resident Faisal Shahzad for attempting to bomb New York’s Times Square.
United States v. Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan. Ahmad and Ahsan are British citizens who have been charged with providing material support of terrorism, conspiring to kill U.S. nationals, and money laundering. It is alleged that Ahmad and Ahsan, through an entity known as “Azzam Publications,” were members of a group that provided material support to the Taliban and the Chechen Mujahideen through various means, including the administration and operation of various web sites promoting violent jihad. The Azzam Publications websites, including, e.g., Azzam.com and Qoqaz.net, were hosted for a period of time through the services of a web-hosting company located in Connecticut. The indictment alleges that the defendants, using both cyberspace and real-world efforts, assisted the Taliban and the Chechen Mujahideen through money laundering, as well as by providing funds, military equipment, communication equipment, lodging, training, expert advice and assistance, facilities, personnel, transportation and other supplies, with the knowledge and intent that such conduct would support the military activities of these and associated groups. The indictment also alleges that, during a search of Ahmad’s residence in the United Kingdom in December 2003, Ahmad was found in the possession of an electronic document containing what were previously classified plans regarding the makeup, advance movements and mission of a United States Naval battle group as it was transiting from California to its deployment in the Middle East. The document discussed the battle group’s perceived vulnerability to terrorist attack. Ahmad and Ahsan are detained in the United Kingdom, and the United States is seeking their extradition.
United States v. Hassan Abu-Jihaad. Our Office investigated and prosecuted Hassan Abu-Jihaad, an enlistee in the U.S. Navy, who betrayed his shipmates and his country by leaking then-classified information about the upcoming movements of his battle group to Azzam Publications, the alleged terrorism support cell in London. Abu-Jihaad was convicted by a federal jury in New Haven of espionage in 2008 and, in 2009, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. To read more about the case, click here.
United States v. Alan Zaleski. In March 2009, our Office tried Alan Zaleski in a case that raised domestic terrorism concerns. Zaleski had been found in the possession of more than 67,000 rounds of ammunition and hundreds of weapons on his property in Berlin, Connecticut, including fully automatic and semi-automatic machine guns, silencers, fragmentation grenades, chemical grenades, smoke grenades, homemade bombs and IEDs. Zaleski’s property was found to be covered with trip wires and booby traps to repel intruders. Zaleski was also found in the possession of anarchist, white-supremacist, anti-Semitic and domestic terrorism-related literature. In February 2011, Zaleski was sentenced to nearly 8 ½ years in prison.
United States v. Yung Tang. Our Office prosecuted Yung Tang, who pled guilty to possessing illegal explosives and a silencer. In January 2008, Tang was found in the possession of two IEDs, two partially assembled IEDs, two remote-controlled detonators, two firearm silencers, and materials for disguising a person’s appearance, while parked in a van located in the parking lot of a kindergarten and child care facility in Wallingford, Connecticut. In February and July 2008, law enforcement officers found two additional vans belonging to Tang in New York City; the vans contained additional IEDs, weapons, a silencer and several other containers filled with explosives and incendiary chemicals. In February 2009, Tang was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
United States v. Noel Davila. In 2004, our Office tried and convicted Noel Davila for threatening the use of a weapon of mass destruction, and delivery of that threat through the mail. Evidence at the trial indicated that in August 2002, while incarcerated at the Cheshire Correctional Institution, Davila sent an envelope containing a white powdery substance, a piece of paper with foreign handwriting and prayers, and another piece of paper with the words “ANTRAX a/k/a Bin Laden” written on it to the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office in Bridgeport. Davila had previously been prosecuted by the State’s Attorney’s Office at Bridgeport and subsequently convicted for aggravated sexual assault and five counts of risk of injury to a minor. At his federal sentencing in 2005, Davila was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
U.S. Arms Export and Diversion Cases: In May 2004, a Bridgeport-based corporation pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the illegal export of defense articles and munitions items from the United States without the necessary licenses and approvals. The son of the owner of that company also pleaded guilty to attempting to impede federal agents who were conducting a search warrant at the company by attempting to disable his computer during the search. The company agreed to pay a $500,000 criminal fine and to institute an acceptable export compliance program. The prohibited items included parts for use on military helicopters.
In September 2003, the Chief Financial Officer of a Connecticut-based company was sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment and $50,000 fine after admitting that he and the company unlawfully exported laboratory equipment, which the government believed was destined for nuclear weapons testing and research by the government of Pakistan. The company also was ordered to pay a combined criminal and civil fine of $500,000.
The Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council
In addition to our investigations and prosecutions, our Office chairs Connecticut’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which includes representatives from approximately 100 different local, state and federal law enforcement organizations. The ATAC program provides training for, and ensures collaboration between, federal, state and local law enforcement officers on national security matters.
Over the past several years, ATAC training to law enforcement groups has included trainings on biological and radioactive weapons; improvised explosive devices and active-shooter scenarios; and protection of critical infrastructure.
As part of our training efforts, our Office also partners with the FBI for its annual Indoor Post-Blast School, an intensive, week-long course taught by expert bomb technicians and federal prosecutors, which has taken place in Connecticut at least annually for the past eight years and has hosted, each time, approximately 60 federal, state, and local law enforcement officials, bomb technicians, and other first responders. The training includes intensive instruction on explosive materials; improvised explosive devices; letter and package bombs; large vehicle bombs; suicide bombings; evidence collection; bombing investigations; WMDs; and investigative techniques / post-blast analysis. Various explosive devices are detonated under controlled circumstances, and students must process the scene, collect evidence and try to determine the source of the blast and the type and design of the device used, while interacting with AUSAs to obtain subpoenas, court orders and search warrants to further their investigation. To read more about the FBI’s Indoor Post Blast School, click here.
Protecting Civil Liberties.
As we aggressively pursue the investigation and prosecution of national security matters, we are also committed to reconciling the demands of security with the important goals of fairness, openness and tolerance in our society. Our nation is strengthened by the diversity of our people, and by the ability of disparate communities to come together, in spite of differences, to share the common values on which our country was founded.
While government has an important role, we also view our communities and community institutions as key partners in our counter-terrorism efforts. In conducting national security cases, this Office and our law enforcement partners rely on the support, cooperation and trust of the communities we serve and protect. Members of our community are valuable partners in a shared effort to combat national security threats.
To that end, our Office and the FBI engage in extensive outreach efforts with many different communities to improve our ability to perform our duties in a manner consistent with civil liberties, diversity and a commitment to freedom.
The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut are committed to fighting threats to our national security and keeping our communities safe, while protecting and safeguarding civil liberties guaranteed under our constitution.
How You Can Help.
Members of the public are invaluable resources in our efforts to safeguard our community. While the law enforcement community is doing its best to keep us safe, you can help as well. If you see any activity that you deem suspicious, or possibly linked to terrorism, please take it seriously and report it promptly to your local law enforcement agency or to the following agencies:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Joint Terrorism Task Force
State of Connecticut Department of
Emergency Services and Public Protection