California Father, Son Charged With al-Qaeda Link

A California father and son, Umer and Hamid Hayat, have been charged for their involvement with al Qaeda. They may be part of a much larger ring operating in Lodi.

Feds Charge Father, Son With al-Qaida Link (AP)

A terrorism investigation in this quiet farming town has led to the arrests of a father and son who said he trained at an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan and planned to attack U.S. hospitals and supermarkets, authorities said. Federal investigators believe a number of people committed to al-Qaida have been operating in and around Lodi, a wine-growing region about 30 miles south of Sacramento, FBI Agent Keith Slotter said Wednesday. He would not elaborate.

Slotter added that investigators did not have information about any specific plans for an attack, and the father and son were charged only with lying to federal agents about the son’s training at the al-Qaida camp. Two local Muslim leaders also have been detained on immigration violations.

The son, Hamid Hayat, was interviewed by the FBI last Friday and at first denied any link to terror camps. But the next day he was given a polygraph test and admitted he attended the camp in 2003 and 2004, according to an affidavit by FBI Agent Pedro Aguilar. Hayat, 22, said photos of President Bush and other American political figures were pasted onto targets during weapons training, the affidavit said. At the end of training, participants were given the opportunity to choose the nation where their attacks would be carried out. “Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihadi mission,” according to an affidavit released through the Justice Department in Washington. “Potential targets for attack included hospitals and large food stores.”

The father, 47-year-old Umer Hayat, lied about his son’s involvement and money he sent for the son’s training, the affidavit said.

As incredible as the case of John Walker Lindh was, this is much worse because of the timing. It’s inconceivable to me how any American could join al Qaeda after the 9-11 attacks.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.