PH asks FBI for info on 'foiled terror plot'
(UPDATED) MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine embassy in the United States is now coordinating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to get more information on the foiled terror plot that involved a US permanent resident born in the Philippines.
Ralph Kenneth De Leon, 23, and two others were arrested in California on Sunday, November 18. They were reportedly trying to leave the US for Afghanistan to join the Al Qaeda and the Taliban. A 4th suspect was arrested in Afghanistan.
They were charged with "conspiring to provide material support to terrorists" who were preparing a plot that involved "killing Americans and bombing US bases abroad, including the Philippines."
"The Philippine embassy is coordinating with authorities in the United States in connection with the filing of a criminal complaint in California against a Filipino and three other men for allegedly plotting to mount terrorist attacks that included targets in the Philippines," Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said in a statement released on Thursday, November 22.
The four were planning to engage in "violent jihad," an earlier CBS News report quoted FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
According to the CBS News report, the complaint details how a former Air Force soldier Omar Kabir introduced Fil-Am De Leon to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al Qaeda leader.
De Leon converted to Islam in 2010 and has since been actively involved in jihad discussions online, the report added. He also supposedly used Facebook to post his extremist views and joined Skype conversations to arrange meetings with terrorists.
FBI undercover agents were able to join their online conversations. De Leon himself told an FBI source that "he wanted to be on the front lines overseas and use C-4, an explosive, in an attack," according to the CBS News report.
De Leon and his colleague were "excited about the rewards from becoming a shaheed, which is Arabic for martyr," the report further reads.
Consul General Helen Barber-Dela Vega of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles was informed of De Leon's arrest on Monday.
Consul Charmaine Chua is scheduled to be granted access to De Leon at a detention facility in San Bernardino County, Cuisia added.
It is the embassy’s police attaché, Chief Supt Armand Ramolete, who is personally coordinating with the FBI for additional information on the alleged plot, the embassy added. - Rappler.com