By Austin Nolen
When Keonna Thomas was charged slightly over one year ago with attempting to fight for the Islamic State, prosecutors relied in large part on her conversations with three anonymous co-conspirators, alleged to be militants located in the Middle East and Africa. Now, the Declaration can exclusively confirm the identities of all three individuals.
Details about these individuals have previously been kept under wraps. An FBI special agent assigned to the case refused to answer defense questions about one of the co-conspirators during a pre-trial hearing, and Thomas’ defense team is barred from disclosing their names.
As part of discovery in the case, prosecutors provided the defense with “open-source news articles about” the three co-conspirators. In a letter obtained by the Declaration, prosecutors name all three individuals in a detailed summary of discovery material.
According to the government’s initial complaint, the first co-conspirator is “a known Somalia-based violent jihadi fighter originally from Minnesota.” The prosecution’s letter names Mujahid Miski, whom the Program on Extremism at George Washington University describes as “a prominent Somali-American English-speaking propagandist.”
Miski, or Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, who attended high school in Minneapolis and is currently in custody in Somalia, appears to be co-conspirator number one.
The second individual named in the government’s letter is Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal. al-Faisal was born in Jamaica and was later deported back to his country of birth after being convicted in the United Kingdom for solicitation to murder. He meets the government’s description of co-conspirator number three, “a radical Islamic cleric located in Jamaica.”
The final individual named in the discovery letter is Abu Khalid al Amriki, who is apparently co-conspirator two, described in the complaint as “a known overseas ISIL fighter.” According to GWU’s Program on Extremism, al Amriki spoke of having a wife arrested in the U.S. on terrorism charges. Co-conspirator two is the individual whose electronic messages to Thomas speak about marriage.
The Program on Extremism previously identified al Amriki as one of the co-conspirators in the Thomas complaint, apparently based on context in court records. The prosecution letter is the first time he has been verified as a co-conspirator, however. al Amriki, who described himself as an American, was apparently killed in an anti-ISIL airstrike in September 2015.
Jury selection in Thomas’ case is scheduled to begin on October 13th, with the trial scheduled to begin on October 17th. A defense motion to obtain a bill of particulars, or a formal supplement to the indictment against Thomas, was recently denied.
Update: The Declaration recently learned that Reuters previously identified Abdullah al-Faisal as one of Keonna Thomas’ co-conspirators based on an anonymous U.S. government source. The Declaration remains the first outlet to name Mujahid Miski as one of the co-conspirators and the first to confirm Abdullah al-Faisal and Abu Khalid al Amriki as co-conspirators based on a publicly available source.
View the prosecution letters on which this story is based below:
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[…] liberties. The Declaration has been one of the few news outlets closely covering the ongoing case against Keonna Thomas, who allegedly planned to join the Islamic State. We have […]
[…] previously reported by The Declaration, Thomas’ alleged co-conspirators are Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, also known as […]