Video: Break in recent terrorist threat?

NBC News and news services
updated 8/11/2004 8:00:17 PM ET 2004-08-12T00:00:17

A Pakistani-American man admitted in a closed court hearing to supplying the al-Qaida terrorist network with money, night-vision goggles and other equipment to be used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, according to a transcript unsealed this week.

Mohammed Junaid Babar, 29, of Queens, N.Y., revealed his role in the scheme while pleading guilty to multiple counts of providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Transcripts of the guilty plea, which was entered in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in June, were released by prosecutors this week.

In his secret plea deal, Babar admitted to meeting with a high-ranking al-Qaida official in South Waziristan, Pakistan, near the border of Afghanistan, earlier this year and turning over equipment ranging from waterproof socks to goggles.

“I understood that the money and supplies that I had given to al-Qaida was supposed to be used in Afghanistan, you know, against U.S. or ... international forces or against the Northern Alliance,” he said.

Role in militant training camp?
Babar, who faces up to 70 years in prison but could get a far lighter sentence with the plea deal, also admitted to establishing a Muslim militant training camp in Afghanistan, which he supplied with materials such as aluminum nitrate and ammonium nitrate, which can be used for explosive devices.

The explosives were earmarked for a plot to blow up London train stations and pubs. British authorities broke up the plot in March and arrested eight men.

Babar was arrested in March. NBC News reported last week that Babar pleaded guilty in secret in June, admitting his part in a plan to bomb targets in London. A huge sweep by British police broke that up in late March.

Babar was born in the United States and raised in a New York City suburb. But he apparently harbors no love for his birthplace:

“I did grow up there. But that doesn't mean my loyalty is with the Americans. My loyalty will, has always been, is, and forever will be with the Muslims,” Babar said in a November 2001 interview.

NBC: al-Hindi in U.S. during surveillance
Now, authorities are exploring a possible connection between Babar and members of another British cell, arrested last week, which included Isa al-Hindi, the man believed to have done most of the surveillance of the U.S. financial buildings himself.

NBC News has learned that investigators now have proof that al-Hindi was actually in the United States at the time the buildings were cased.

U.S. authorities told NBC News that Babar is cooperating with them, and his family has been placed in the witness protection program.

A terrorism expert says the United States has made big strides in uncovering the building plot. “Our ability to connect the dots and to link disparate al-Qaida activities in a number of different countries has improved exponentially since September 11th, 2001,” said terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman.

Reuters and NBC's Pete Williams contributed to this report.


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