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Dan Hochheiser: Latest NY Terror Case Not Easy One to Prosecute

By    |   Thursday, 26 February 2015 11:10 AM

It may be challenging to successfully pursue a case against the three terror suspects arrested Wednesday and accused of plotting to fight for the Islamic State (ISIS), former New York prosecutor Dan Hochheiser said Thursday on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.

Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, was arrested at Kennedy Airport while attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, with plans to head to Syria, while police in Brooklyn arrested 24-year-old Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, who had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month, according to authorities.

A third man, Abror Habibov, 30, is accused of helping to fund Saidakhmetov's efforts. He was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida.

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"From a prosecution perspective, they have some problems," Hochheiser said. "This is not a slam-dunk terrorism prosecution because a lot of these conversations, which were over the Uzbeki website and on recorded telephone calls with a confidential informant, are very conditional conversations.

"If I have the opportunity and I have the weapon, I will kill the president. That's not a statement 'I will kill the president' — that depends on an event to trigger the threat."

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"This conditional language in the plot to kill the president, bomb Coney Island, kill police officers and FBI agents, most of these threats are conditional and they may not actually rise to the level of criminal activity you need to prove in court," he said.

Juraboev first appeared on law enforcement's radar in August when he posted on an Uzbeki website, asking whether it would be acceptable to "shoot Obama and then get shot ourselves," an act he wrote that would "strike fear in the hearts of infidels."

Saidakhmetov intended to shoot police officers and FBI agents if he was unable to join ISIS in Syria, according to the federal complaint.

Former NYPD Detective Thomas Ruskin, who appeared with Hochheiser, credited the men's arrest with "good old-fashioned police work as well as intelligence."

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In order to nab additional suspects, there has to be better communication forged between law enforcement and the Muslim community, Hochheiser said.

"Moderate Muslim leaders need to step up in New York, in America and partner with our law enforcement to root out this cancer, which is fundamentalist Islamic terrorism," he said. "Without their help, we're going to have a real tough time thwarting every single plot."

On the subject of the public release of the identity of "Jihadi John," the British national identified as the person who beheaded U.S journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Allan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, Hochheiser and Ruskin agreed that law enforcement has a calculated reason for keeping the man's identity secret until now.

"It's not important that we know what his name is," Ruskin said. "What's important is that law enforcement know and that they are doing something to capture him or kill him in the process of capturing him.

"Obviously, they haven't been able to and they're looking for the public's support."

The Kuwaiti-born London computer programmer has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi.

"Intelligence and law enforcement people have known his name for a while, just because it was released today to us, doesn't add to his capture," Ruskin said. "Since he beheaded somebody, they've been looking for him.

"It will add to the chances of catching him now that his name is out there and everyone knows who he is and can put out pictures of him."

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The nature of claims made by some of the three terror suspects arrested Wednesday and accused of plotting to fight for the Islamic State make it a tough case to pursue, former New York prosecutor Dan Hochheiser said Thursday on Newsmax TV.
Dan Hochheiser, isis, new york, terror, syria, jihadi john
Thursday, 26 February 2015 11:10 AM
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