A Muslim student on campus can be a dangerous subject.
A California college student and former National Guard trainee has been arrested for allegedly attempting to provide “material support” to a terrorist group with ties to Al Qaeda.
Nicholas Teausant, 20, was detained by federal law enforcement officials early Monday morning as he traveled near the U.S.-Canadian border in Washington state.
Feds had been keeping watch of Teausant since last May, according to a criminal complaint made public on Tuesday, tipped off by the man’s various postings on Instagram and Ask.fm. According to one post cited in the complaint, Teausant said he despised America and “would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start.”
In another post reviewed by TheBlot, Teausant showed off an encryption messaging program he claims is used by members of the mujahideen, allowing him to communicate with Taliban representatives and the publishers of Al Qaeda’s digital magazine Inspire.
Those posts, and others, prompted federal authorities to make contact with Teausant late last year. According to court documents, Teausant told a paid FBI informant in October that he followed militant web forums, read Inspire magazine and had obtained a copy of a lone-wolf terrorism guide known as the “Lone Mujahid Pocketbook.”
For several months, the FBI monitored Teausant through the informant. At one point, Teausant claimed to have met several people through Facebook who expressed a desire to attack the Los Angeles subway system around the New Year’s holiday. According to the complaint, Teausant ended his communication with those individuals after learning that the FBI had lured a terrorism suspect through Facebook; the plot against the subway system never materialized.
AAMER MADHANI, a Muslim writer for USA Today said he was a student of Osama Bin Laden. He and his wife lived in Yemen for a few years and were recruited by Al Qaeda.
Things came to a head in February when Teausant and the informant met with an undercover law enforcement agent, court records reveal. With the help of the undercover officer, Teausant is said to have arranged travel to Canada so that he could eventually fly to Syria and join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a terrorist group with ties to Al Qaeda. Before leaving, Teausant reportedly sold his laptop computer to the undercover officer; though he claimed to have “wiped” his computer of data, a forensic analysis by FBI agents were able to recover Facebook messages.
Coincidentally, Teausant gave an interview to a local television station just days before his trip. In the interview, Teausant expressed disdain for a man dressed in military fatigues who had been making anti-war statements at Stockton’s Delta College, where Teausant was enrolled as a student (the station did not air Teausant’s interview when the story aired last week, but posted the complete interview after learning of his arrest).
The day after the TV interview, Teausant was reportedly observed by FBI agents boarding a train in Lodi, Calif. bound for Sacramento. FBI officials say Teausant switched trains in Sacramento for one bound to Seattle, and then again in Seattle for a bus headed into Canada.
Customs officials stopped the bus just before it entered Canada and detained Teausant. He was charged on Monday with one count of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. If convicted, Teausant faces 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.