UK navy officer joins ISIS

Defence experts warn of terror attacks on ships as highly skilled sailor turns from playboy into jihadi after watching videos of Assad's atrocities in Syria

•    Ali Alosaimi’s high-level skills and exhaustive knowledge of the nation’s shipping fleet represented a terrifying security threat after he fled to Syria

•    His personal details were found among a cache of IS documents
•    They reveal that before leaving for Syria, Alosaimi lived in South Shields
•    For more of the latest ISIS news updates visit


7 May 2016

A navy officer who trained at one of Britain’s most prestigious maritime colleges has fled to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group.

Defence experts warned last night that 28-year-old Ali Alosaimi’s high-level skills and exhaustive knowledge of the nation’s shipping fleet represented a terrifying security threat.

Having already targeted passenger jets, there has long been concern that militants will try to bring terror to the seas by attacking ships and ferries.

‘This suddenly raises the spectre of IS damaging shipping,’ said former Royal Navy chief Admiral Lord West. ‘Someone with his knowledge opens up a whole new area where terrorism can take place.’

Kuwaiti-born Alosaimi’s personal details were found among a cache of IS documents leaked to The Mail on Sunday. They reveal that before leaving for Syria, Alosaimi lived in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, where he enrolled on a three-year Merchant Navy officer course in 2011. He had previously worked for a state-owned oil tanker company in Kuwait.

If he had pursued his naval career after gaining a Higher National Diploma in nautical science, he could have had access to vessels under charter to the Ministry of Defence. These are used to transport military supplies and other cargoes vital to national security.

Alosaimi studied at South Tyneside College’s Marine School, sharing a flat nearby with a Kuwati friend.

The college declined to comment last night, but part of his course, specifically for deck officers, involved serving on a ship, and he acquired an extensive insight into the UK’s maritime capability that would be invaluable to his future IS commanders.

Deck officers are responsible for the safety of the vessel, planning the ship’s passage, loading and discharging cargo, and all communications.

Gavin Simmonds, director of security at the UK Chamber of Shipping, said: ‘An individual with three years’ experience in this area with the Merchant Navy would be of use to a terror organisation intent upon targeting shipping. The idea of an insider with such knowledge joining the crew of, say, an oil tanker is unnerving.

‘There is a significant environmental risk should there be such a spectacular attempt by terrorists, and this is profoundly worrying. However, we must balance concerns against the ability of an individual to cause such an incident.’

Lord West added: ‘I think the most danger is posed by IS acquiring a Liquid Natural Gas container. These are highly flammable and could cause a very large explosion. Britain and the US have been worried about this for some time.’

The Merchant Navy, which now comprises about 1,500 vessels and 30,000 seamen, performed a key role during the Second World War and Falklands conflict.

While in the UK, Alosaimi posted nearly 100 pictures of himself on Facebook, where he called himself ‘Captain Take Care’. In one selfie, he wears dark aviator sunglasses, aping Tom Cruise from the 1986 film Top Gun. In another, posted in 2010, he wears a navy-style cap and writes: ‘I took my place among my crew to sail the seas as a capitano.’

Last night, Alosaimi’s former housemate in South Shields said that he was radicalised by watching videos of killings in Syria committed by President Bashar Assad’s troops. The friend, who does not want to be identified, said: ‘He went to Syria because he was angry about Assad. All Muslims are angry, but Ali acted on it. In this day and age, you don’t need people to radicalise you. The internet is enough.’

He added that Alosaimi finished his HND course, but was two exams away from obtaining his marine licence, which would have allowed him to captain any ship.

Alosaimi’s family in Kuwait said he became radicalised in the final year of his course. He grew a beard and began preaching to teenage relatives, urging them to join IS. Until then, they insisted, he was a typical student who ‘danced, smoked and had girlfriends’.

According to his uncle, it was the death of Alosaimi’s younger brother, Abdullah, killed while fighting with fanatics in Syria aged 19, that was the turning point. The uncle, also called Ali, said: ‘He seemed a changed man after his brother’s death.

‘He grew a beard and did not talk to anyone like he used to. He used to call his family every fortnight but he visited at the end of 2013 and that was the last we heard from him.’

He said Ali had been preparing for his final exams and was primed for a career with the Kuwait National Petroleum Company after he graduated. When he disappeared, the family contacted the company, which confirmed he passed his exams but never took up his post.

Instead, the family received an encrypted Whatsapp message in Arabic seven months later.

Mr Alosaimi said: ‘The message said he was in Syria with IS and he was going to go to heaven. We do not know if he is dead or alive.

‘His father does not have a clue what has happened to him and we are not telling him much because he cannot handle the shock.

‘He knows about the message but he still hopes he will come back. We have no way of finding him or knowing if he is dead or alive. We told the Government as soon as we got the message but what can they do?’

Alosaimi received thousands of pounds funding for his course from the Kuwaiti government. His details were found among 40 application forms from would-be IS fighters given to The Mail on Sunday by a source in Turkey, who has close contacts with the terror group. All are either British nationals or young men who have lived in Britain.

The documents are produced by the group’s so-called ‘General Department of Borders’ and show Alosaimi joined IS in April 2014.

Next to ‘educational achievements’, Alosaimi says he was a ‘navy officer in Britain.’ And against ‘profession’ before entering Syria, he states: ‘Employee in the navy.’

Navy engineer with secret access accused of concealing double life as Iranian citizen

By David Larter
Navy Times
February 25, 2016

A 30-year Navy engineer with access to government secrets has been indicted on charges of lying about his dual Iranian citizenship and creating false identities to conceal his ongoing ties and money he received from overseas.

U.S. federal prosecutors are accusing Naval Sea Systems Command employee James Robert Baker, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Iran, of lying about his holding an active Iranian passport and using four separate social security numbers to open bank accounts, move money and shield his income from taxes — including an unexplained overseas wire transfer of $133,902 in 2009.

Baker, who changed his name from Majid Karimi when he became a U.S. citizen in 1985, faces 14 counts on charges including lying on his SF-86 security clearance questionnaire, identification documents fraud and social security fraud, which could bring a maximum sentence of nearly 70 years in prison. However, experts say Baker, if convicted on all charges, would likely only spend about five years behind bars because of sentencing guidelines.

Baker’s attorney, Tom Walsh of Petrovich & Walsh P.L.C., did not return calls and emails seeking comment by Wednesday. A number D.C. number listed for Baker was disconnected. Baker, whose is believed to be in his 60s, is currently out on $75,000 bond and is awaiting an April jury trail, according to court documents.

Baker's alleged fraud appears to span his entire 30-year career as a Navy civilian and has raised questions about whether authorities missed red flags that should have disqualified him from access to secrets.

“He shouldn’t have a security clearance, no questions about it,” said Bill Cowden, a former U.S. attorney who independently reviewed the indictment for Navy Times. “This is just another example of what’s causing a lot of people to question whose dropping the ball on security clearances. You have leaks of government information, you have people accessing personnel records and you have this. It just doesn’t give you a lot of confidence that the government is doing a good job of vetting people.”

A spokesman for NAVSEA, where Baker has worked as an electrical engineer since 2006, said “it would be inappropriate to comment given the ongoing case.”

U.S. Marshalls arrested Baker on or about Feb. 4, when the federal indictment was filed. Baker has been suspended from his NAVSEA job, pending the outcome of his case.

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, which filed the indictment, declined to comment on the charges.

In July, authorities searched Baker’s home in Springfield, Va., and discovered a Maryland driver’s license under the name Majid Karimi and seized the key to a safe-deposit box located at a bank in Vienna, a few minutes’ drive from his home. Not long after agents arrived at the bank, an incensed Baker walked in demanding the bank give him immediate access to his safe deposit box. The agents told Baker to have a seat while they executed the warrant.

When they opened the box they found three Iranian passports — two expired and one active, the last issued in 2012 — under the name Majid Karimi with Baker’s photograph on them.

Authorities also found four different social security cards dating back to July 6, 1979 — two under the name James Robert Baker and two under Majid Karimi with addresses in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Furthermore, Karimi had driver’s licenses and ID cards from Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Delaware and New Jersey.

Financial intrigue

In 2009, Baker mysteriously transferred a large sum of money acquired overseas and spread it across his various identities, prosecutors allege. Baker moved $133,902 from a bank account in New York to his BB&T account opened under his former name, Majid Karimi. The lump sum originated from a bank in Slovenia and was wired to his New York account through an intermediary servicer in the United Arab Emirates, Al Samaa LTD. Attempts to contact Al Samaa, which appears to be a financial institution, have been unsuccessful.

Baker then moved $40,000 from the BB&T account under his Karimi identity to a PNC account under his Baker identity.

He is also accused of — but not charged with — lying to NAVSEA about tax withholdings from his paycheck. Baker, the indictment alleges, opened a bank account with Navy Federal Credit Union and gave his sister in Tehran control over it as a way of avoiding tax reporting under his name.

In tax forms, Baker reported his sister’s U.S. address as his own, though U.S. officials have no record she has traveled to the U.S. and that the only person who used that account regularly was Baker.

'Provable crimes'

Baker became a naturalized citizen in 1985 and legally changed his name from Karimi to Baker, according to the indictment. It was also the year he started working for the Naval Surface Warfare Center. In 2001, just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, officials informed Baker that he could not have a secret clearance and a foreign passport, adding that he would need to furnish proof he had given up his Iranian passport.

Six days later, he used his Iranian passport to fly to Iran. In October, the Navy learned about his trip and suspended his clearance. But Baker challenged the suspension, stating that he’d returned his passport to Iran, and his clearance was reinstated in 2002, according to the indictment.

The passport he claimed was given up was later discovered in his Vienna safe-deposit box.

The alleged lies about his passport and the elaborate fraud to conceal his multiple identities and the complicated and opaque transfer of more than $100,000 from overseas has raised concerns ranging from a complicated tax evasion scheme to espionage, and it remains unclear whether investigators intend to file more charges against Baker.If prosecutors had an espionage case, they would likely keep records sealed and the indictment hush-hush, experts say.

“It’s probably frustrating for the prosecutor,” said Cowden, the former prosecutor who's now a defense attorney with the Federal Practice Group in Washington, D.C. “They probably think there’s something more going on here, he’s got money coming in from overseas and probably don’t know what the source of it is and haven’t been able to get as far into it as they’d like. Or they’ve run it to ground and they think he’s a social security and tax fraud.”

Each charge each carries a five year sentence and Karimi is facing 14 counts, but because of sentencing guidelines and that they are all essentially the same crime, the charges are likely to be grouped together.

“You’ve got a guy who’s been investigated for more than eight months, and because there is a public indictment, the message is he’s not cooperating,” Cowden said. “The fact that there is a public indictment out there, they’ve thrown 14 counts at him, that seems to be what they can uncover as provable crimes. They’re not huge crimes, not the kind of crimes that will put him in jail for 20 years or longer.

“He’s probably lawyered up and they’ve come to the conclusion that he’s better off not cooperating.”

Saudi-born US naval engineer allegedly gave undercover agent info on how to sink carrier

December 06, 2014

A Naval engineer is facing charges that he gave an FBI undercover agent posing as an Egyptian intelligence officer secret documents about the new Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier while discussing how to sink the vessel with a missile.

Mostafa Ahmed Awwad, 35, of Yorktown, Va., was arrested Friday on an FBI affidavit that reads like it came from a Tom Clancy novel.

Federal prosecutors in Virginia say that during his conversations with the undercover, Awwad arranged to use a dead-drop location along a secluded hiking trail to pass secrets about the Ford, which is being built in Virginia for delivery to the Navy in 2016.

The affidavit says that at a hotel meeting on Oct. 9 Awwad gave the undercover drawings of the aircraft carrier that he said were top secret. During the meeting, "Awwad discussed where to strike the vessel with a missile in order to sink it," the affidavit says.

The FBI undercover was posing as an Egyptian spy named "Yousef" and spoke to Awwad in Arabic.

The Virginian Pilot said Saturday that Awwad cried as he was led into the courtroom for a brief hearing before a federal magistrate judge in Norfolk. He wore a pink collared shirts, sweater vest and tan pants, the paper said.

The judge ordered Awwad detained until a hearing Wednesday.

The indictment accuses Awwad of two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and technical data. Each count is punishable by 20 years in prison.

The affidavit says Awwad was born in Saudia Arabia and married a U.S. citizen in Cairo in 2007. After his marriage he took steps to become an American citizen.

The court papers also say the Navy hired Awwad to work in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s nuclear engineering and planning department in February and that he got a security clearance in August.

The FBI sting began in September when the undercover contacted Awwad. The court papers do not say why Awwad became a target.

During their first meeting in a park in Hampton, Va., Awwad explained to "Yousef" that he intended to use his position to obtain military technology for use by the Egyptian government, including but not limited to, the designs of the USS Gerald Ford nuclear aircraft carrier.

"Awwad agreed to conduct clandestine communications with the undercover FBI agent by email and unattributable telephones and to conduct 'dead drops' in a concealed location in the park," the Justice Department said in a press release, cited by the Navy Times.

At the Oct. 9 meeting Awwad asked for $1,500 to buy a tiny camera to enable him to photograph restricted material around the shipyard, according to the affidavit.

On Oct. 23, Awwad retrieved $3,000 in cash left at the dead-drop location. He left behind a container with an external hard drive and two passport photos. The FBI later collected the containers.

The day after Thanksgiving Awwad was observed in his Navy office holding what appeared to be aircraft design schematics which he placed on the floor and photographed.

The Pilot said the USS Ford is the lead ship in the Navy’s new class of carriers. The Ford stands 25 stories high and is three football fields long.

Retired rear admiral Fred Metz, head of the Navy’s carrier and air station program until 1991, told the paper its bad enough for the schematics of any Navy vessel to be given away.

"But it’s worse to give away the Ford's," he said. "There is a whole lot of new technology on it we haven't seen before."

Navy Case Goes To Jury

Former Sailor Allegedly Passed Information To Terrorists

Courant Staff Writer

NEW HAVEN — - Government prosecutors urged a jury Monday to convict a former Navy sailor of providing terrorists with classified information about naval ship movements, saying the sailor admitted as much in a coded admission that was secretly recorded by the FBI.

But the defense team for former navy Signalman Hassan Abu-Jihaad argued just as forcefully for acquittal, hammering at what it called the "biggest flaw" in the prosecution case — the lack of any direct link between Abu-jihaad and a classified discussion of U.S. ship vulnerabilities that was found in the possession of a British Internet company tied to al-Qaida.

Over six days of trial, prosecutors presented evidence that they told jurors supports the charges against Abu-jihaad — that he provided material support to terrorists and leaked classified information about national defense.

Abu-jihaad's lawyers presented only one witness, a free-lance journalist who testified in support of the central defense contention that anyone with a computer could have compiled the leaked information from material posted on publicly available Internet sites by the U.S. Navy and a variety of other sources.

Abu-jihaad, 32, who was honorably discharged from the Navy in 2002, did not testify. U.S. District Court Judge Mark R. Kravitz turned the case over to jurors Monday afternoon and instructed them to begin deliberating this morning.

Abu-jihaad is accused of intentionally jeopardizing the lives of U.S. military personnel by providing detailed information about the movement and vulnerability of a naval battle group deployed to the Persian Gulf to the operators of a London Internet business called Azzam Publications. Government witnesses testified that Azzam operated as an online adjunct to al-Qaida before it was shut down by pressure from the U.S. government.

British law enforcement found what was referred to during the trial as the Battle Group Document during a December 2003 search of the home of one of the Azzam operators, Babar Ahmad. Ahmad is under indictment in a case related to that of Abu-jihaad. Both are being tried in Connecticut because they are accused of communicating by e-mail that passed through equipment maintained by a Connecticut Internet service provider.

U.S. investigators found electronic evidence of numerous e-mail exchanges between Abu-jihaad and the Azzam. Prosecutors produced evidence that they claim shows he ordered al-Qaida propaganda videos from Azzam and expressed support for the suicide attack on the USS Cole in October 2000. They also found that Azzam had taken what prosecutors called the unusual step of saving a copy of his e-mail address.

Although computer analysts could find no direct electronic link between Abu-jihaad and transmission of the Battle Group document, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Reynolds told the jury Monday that an exhaustive, global investigation by a variety of security agencies compiled enough other evidence to convict him of the leak.

Among other things, Reyolds said, Abu-jihaad was the only member of the U.S. armed forces in regular e-mail communication with Azzam at the time of the leak.

Perhaps more important, Reynolds said, Abu-jihaad admitted causing the leak in crudely encoded conversations secretly recorded by the FBI in 2006.

Reynolds said that when pressed by other alleged terror sympathizers for additional military intelligence, Abu-jihaad said he had lost access to the information since separating from the Navy in 2002. Reynolds quoted Abu-jihaad as saying he could no longer provide "hot meals" or "fresh meals" because he had been out of the Navy for four years.

Reynolds replayed one of the recordings to jurors during his summation. On it, Abu-jihaad can be heard saying: "I ain't been working in the field of making meals in a long time. I've been out of that quatro years."

Abu-jihaad's obsession with coded talk was part of his effort to avoid detection and was the reason he could not be linked to the leaked Battle Group document, Reynolds said.

"There is no forensic link to the Battle Group Document itself because the defendant told you himself in his own words that he covers his tracks," Reynolds told jurors.

But Dan LaBelle, one of Abu-jihaad's lawyers, dismissed government allusions to coded conversations and other counter-surveillance measures.

"Those conversations are so cryptic that nobody knows what they are actually talking about," LaBelle told the jury. "There is no way you can draw that conclusion from those conversations."

In fact, LaBelle said, Abu-jihaad was so "non-secretive" that he even told his immediate supervisor aboard the destroyer USS Benfold, which was assigned to the battle group, that he was ordering al-Qaida propaganda videos over the Internet.

LaBelle used most of his closing argument in an effort to persuade jurors that the information about the battle group could have been collected from navy press releases, newspaper reports and books on U.S and foreign navies.

But Reynolds said there was enough classified information in the leaked document to suggest it could have been provided only by someone with access to the battle group's navigational plans. As a signalman, who had a secret security clearance and who was assigned to the Benfold's navigation division, Reynolds said, Abu-jihaad had that access.


Ex-Sailor Convicted in Terror Case


March 5, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A former Navy sailor has been convicted of leaking details about his own ship's movements to suspected terrorism supporters.

Jurors were in their second day of deliberations when they convicted Hassan Abu-Jihaad of Phoenix of providing material support to terrorists and disclosing classified national defense information.

Federal prosecutors said the 32-year-old sympathized with the enemy and admitted disclosing military intelligence.












Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907

“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag.... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”