Mohamud Abdi Yusuf: St. Louis Taxi Driver Accused of Funding Somali Terrorists

Today’s commentary is predicated on a Department of Justice (DOJ) News release reporting on the conviction, via a guilty plea, of Mohamad Abdi Yusuf, for providing a foreign terrorist organization, al-Shabaab, with material support. The news release was issued several weeks ago, on November 3, 2011. I have also provided you with a copy of a news report about the same case that was issued by the Riverfront Times.

There are a number of reasons why this news report is worthy of your consideration.

First of all, I want you to consider how the Department of Justice described Mr. Yusuf- the headline of the news release was:


Of all the things I might say about an immigrant who was convicted of participating in crimes to support terrorism, I could not imagine a more deceptively innocuous term than “Local man!”

There is not a single word in the entire news release that noted that Mr. Yusuf had, in fact immigrated to the United States from Somalia. The way that is information was obtained was by reviewing the local news organization’s report about this case!

Now I want you to consider this excerpt from the DOJ news release:

“Since 9/11, this is the first international terrorism case prosecuted in Eastern Missouri,” said Special Agent in Charge Dennis L. Baker. He continued, “At least 20 American citizens from other parts of the U.S. have already traveled to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab, which is responsible for assassinating Somali peace activists, international aid workers, numerous civil society figures and journalists. Senior leaders of Al-Shabaab are affiliated with al-Qaida.”

My goal is not to bash immigrants, but let us give this a bit of thought- the DOJ news release notes that at least 20 American citizens from other parts of the U.S. had already traveled to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab. There is no mention of where these U.S. citizens were born, but I would not be surprised if at least some of these individuals had immigrated to the United States.

Consider that while the DOJ ignored the immigration status of the defendants in the case, the local newspaper was willing to provide that information.

Consider this excerpt from the newspaper report:

A man who immigrated to St. Louis from Somalia and worked as a driver for Express Airport Cab has been charged with funding a terrorist organization in his native country. According to a federal indictment handed down last week, Mohamud Abdi Yusuf collected money in St. Louis that was secretly funneled to al-Shabaab, the Islamic militant group that’s seeking to takeover the east African nation. In February of 2008 the U.S. State Department added al-Shabaab to its list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The indictment states that Yusuf and his associates first plotted to raise money for al-Shabaab in January 2008 and knew it had been declared a terrorist outfit when they began sending funds to the group in June of 2008. Yusuf allegedly funneled the payments to an intermediary in Kenya and Somalia by the name of Duwayne Mohamed Diriye.

Another Somali immigrant living in Minnesota, Abdi Mahdi Hussein, was the one who allegedly wired the money from Yusuf to Africa. The indictment further alleges that the suspects used coded language to discuss their transactions, referring to al-Shabaab (which translates to “The Youth”) by nicknames such as skull-crushers, teeth grinders and sling-shot throwers.

The issue of how these other individuals acquired their U.S. citizenship is of extreme importance. If they immigrated to the United States and then naturalized, it is clear that the scrutiny that we are subjecting immigrants may as well be flawed. If a number of passengers are able to board airliners with weapons the TSA would be ordered to tighten up their screening procedures. Similarly, would it not make sense for our government to be concerned about how these aliens were able to immigrate to the United States and then become naturalized citizens?

Is it not disconcerting that a newspaper would be concerned about the issue of the fact that a convicted terrorist is a naturalized citizen but the DOJ did not even consider this issue to be worthy of mentioning?

Of course when you consider how the administration is obviously hell-bent on ignoring the vast majority of illegal aliens who have no convictions for violent felonies, it is not beyond the realm of reason that the DOJ news release was designed to minimize the issue of the role that immigration plays in terms of national security. If this is the case, they are playing politics with our nation’s security and this is unacceptable!

There is another issue about how our nation deals with the naturalization process- aliens who are sworn in as new United States citizens are able to change their names on the day that they naturalize. When they apply for a United States passport, that passport will generally only reflect the new name that the newly minted United States citizen has taken! This means that such naturalized citizens can easily place themselves in their own “witness protection program!”

Most terrorist watch lists and “No fly lists” are purely name based. This means that a known terrorist who is able to game the naturalization process may well be able to acquire a brand new identity that will enable him (her) to enter countries around the world with a “clean” identity. Their original names may be on every terror list in the world, but if we screw up and permit such an individual to naturalize, our screw up will not only threaten our safety and security but the safety and security of countries around the world!

This could be stopped by simply adding the original name to the passport of naturalized citizens but for reasons I cannot begin to fathom, this is, to my knowledge, not being done!

The issue of false names is an integral part of this case- consider the very first paragraph of the DOJ report:

St. Louis, MO – The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that MOHAMUD ABDI YUSUF pled guilty to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

According to court documents, from February 2008 through at least July 2009, Yusuf conspired with others to provide money to al-Shabaab, which was designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization in February 2008. Yusuf transferred money to al-Shabaab under fictitious names and telephone numbers utilizing money remitting businesses operating in the United States.

Here are a few other quick points I want you to consider- points that I have often made in various venues including when I have testified before Congressional hearings as well as state legislative hearings in various states that were considering the enactment of their own immigration laws when, as has become the norm, the federal government refuses to secure our borders and enforce the immigration laws and, consequently doing serious harm to various states and communities on a number of important issues- most prominently where community safety and economic hardship and unemployment are concerned.

Not all terrorists engage in carrying out overt attacks such as hijackings, bombings and assassinations. Just as only a very small percentage of Air Force personnel are pilots- most Air Force personnel have vital supporting jobs- terrorist organizations also depend on numerous individuals providing vital support- often the raising of money, to fund terrorist operations.

This was, in fact the mission that Mohamud Abdi Yusuf was engaged in- covertly moving money under a variety of fictitious names, to fund a particularly pernicious terrorist organization.

Often the open borders advocates (immigration anarchists) insist that most illegal aliens (undocumented workers) simply want to do the work American won’t do. I have often made the point that terrorists seek to hide in plain sight by taking nondescript jobs that provide them with mobility and camouflage. In this case, Yusuf was working as a taxi driver who operated at the St. Louis Airport where, no doubt, his continual presence enabled him to move freely about the airport- thereby providing him with the potential additional benefit of meeting coconspirators without detection!

The 9/11 Commission, to which I provided testimony, noted that of 94 terrorists who had been identified as operating in the United States in the decade leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, 59 of those terrorists or approximately 2/3 of them had utilized visa fraud and/or immigration benefits fraud in order to enter the United States in order to embed themselves as they went about their nefarious activities in the United States.

Meanwhile, the President, high ranking members of his administration, many members of Congress from both houses and both parties and even most of the Republican Presidential candidates have openly called for placing unknown tens of millions of illegal aliens on the pathway to United States citizenship! These are illegal aliens whose simple presence in our country represents a violation of our laws and whose true identities, backgrounds, potential affiliation with criminal or terrorist organizations are all unknown and unknowable!

This is why I have come to refer to Comprehensive Immigration Reform as being the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act!”

On June 22, 2007 the Washington Times published an Op-Ed I wrote about my concerns that was entitled, Immigration bill a “No Go”

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama quoted from my commentary on three separate days during the floor debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Here is a link to my article:

When you consider just how critically important the visa process and the system by which we accord immigration benefits to aliens including lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship, it is utterly unfathomable that the current administration as well as previous administrations of both parties have minimized the importance of these programs that have an integral link to national security!

It is beyond belief that the President and members of both parties, including GOP candidates for the Presidency have called for a massive program to provide illegal aliens with a “Pathway to United States Citizenship!”

In the days, weeks and months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 a veritable parade of our “leaders” headed for the cameras and microphones of the news media to know why no one had “Connected the dots!”

The dots have been connected! Perhaps they need crayons!

Today’s commentary addresses the successful prosecution of a naturalized citizen who was an integral member of an extremely violent terrorist organization. Unfortunately, I can assure you that there are many more “out there” in our communities across this country, operating with impunity and little to fear from our law enforcement agencies because the administration’s policies make a mockery of the very same immigration laws that were enacted to protect our nation and our citizens from foreign nationals (aliens) whose presence poses a threat to the safety, security and well being of our nation and our citizens.

I fear that as we saw in 1993 and again in 2001, at some point in the future, terrorists who will go undetected will have once again gamed this “system” that has even less integrity than the southern border of this country, and do harm to our nation and our citizens.

It is time for our nation’s leaders, on all levels, to come to terms with the fundamental fact that the basis of our immigration laws is to protect our nation and our citizens from aliens whose presence has the potential to have a serious adverse impact. Ignoring those laws exposes our nation and our citizens to a variety of serious threats and challenges!

A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!

If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.

My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.

The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.

If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there. The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!

The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to get involved!

I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are! We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance. This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue! You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem! Democracy is not a spectator sport! Lead, follow or get out of the way!

Here is a link to the program:

Local Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to Terrorist Organization

Michael Cutler, a former Senior INS Investigator, an expert witness in more than a dozen Congressional Hearings is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to the ‘911 Families for a Secure America.’ He writes about the nexus between immigration and national security.