WASHINGTON -- A Palestinian linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and an Egyptian were charged yesterday with providing financial support for terrorist groups and recruiting would-be terrorists, including alleged Al Qaeda plotter Jose Padilla.
A 10-count federal grand jury indictment returned in Miami charges Adhan Amin Hassoun and Mohamed Hesham Youssef with providing material support and with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorist organizations. The men already are jailed -- Hassoun in Florida and Youssef in Egypt.
According to the indictment, Hassoun wrote checks totaling $53,000 between 1994 and May 2002 to charities and people with ties to terrorism. From a base in Broward County, Fla., Hassoun also allegedly recruited people in the United States for jihad in Afghanistan, Somalia, Chechnya, and Kosovo.
''This indictment alleges that an individual living here in the United States, enjoying all the freedoms that our society has to offer, was secretly plotting to support murder and terror being perpetrated by violent jihadists overseas," Attorney General John Ashcroft said.
Among those allegedly recruited by Hassoun was Padilla, a former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert being held by the United States as an enemy combatant. Several law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity for legal reasons, confirmed that Padilla is the individual referred to in the indictment as an ''unindicted coconspirator."
Padilla, who attended Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, was arrested in May 2002 in Chicago on suspicion of plotting to detonate a radioactive ''dirty bomb" in the United States.
The government says Al Qaeda leaders were skeptical about that plot and instead wanted Padilla -- along with suspected Al Qaeda member Adnan G. El-Shukrijumah -- to fill multiple apartment buildings with natural gas and blow them up. Padilla is in a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C.
According to the indictment, telephone calls monitored through electronic surveillance indicated that Hassoun said in 1999 that he was providing financial support and travel guidance to Youssef and Padilla. Hassoun also allegedly wrote a $1,000 check to another person with Padilla's name on the memo line; on a separate occasion, Yousef told Hassoun that Padilla ''went to the area of Osama."
Prosecutors have said Padilla trained at the Farouq training camp in Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had set up operations.
The government previously has described Hassoun as a member of Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya, an international terrorist organization connected to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The indictment describes numerous intercepted conversations between Hassoun, Youssef, and others in which they allegedly talked in code about terrorist support and activities. At one point in 1996, Youssef told Hassoun he is ''ready for trade immediately" and Hassoun responded, ''By God, there is now trade in Somalia . . . get yourself ready to go down there to see," according to the indictment.
A bit later, Hassoun said ''there is jihad" in Somalia.
The charges say Hassoun wrote checks to a number of organizations, including Muslim charities such as the Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, that prosecutors say were intended to finance terrorist activities.
Hassoun and Youssef each face up to 30 years in prison on the material support and conspiracy charges. Hassoun faces additional time on the other charges.