7 Arrested In Sears Tower Plot - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/23/06-Miami

7 Arrested In Sears Tower Plot

The Sears Tower in Chicago -- the nation's tallest building -- may have been a target of the alleged plot. The Sears Tower in Chicago -- the nation's tallest building -- may have been a target of the alleged plot.
FBI agents and police conduct operations in the Liberty City area of Miami, Florida. FBI agents and police conduct operations in the Liberty City area of Miami, Florida.
Federal and local law enforcement authorities conduct a search in Miami, Florida. Federal and local law enforcement authorities conduct a search in Miami, Florida.

A federal indictment against seven men revealed Friday details of what the government said was a plan to "kill all the devils we can" by blowing up Chicago's Sears Tower.

The "jihad" was intended to be "as good or greater than 9/11," beginning with destruction of the 110-story tower and FBI buildings, according to court documents obtained Friday by CNN.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in a news conference Friday, described the men as examples of "homegrown terrorists" who "may prove to be as dangerous as groups like al Qaeda" and who have come "to view their home country as the enemy."

Named in the grand jury indictment is Narseal Batiste, who allegedly told an informant -- posing as a member of al Qaeda -- that he was organizing an Islamic army to wage a jihad in the United States. (Read the full indictment -- PDF)

The indictment offered no indication that the suspects were actually in contact with any al Qaeda members.

Gonzales said there never was an immediate threat to the alleged targets.

"We felt that the combination of the planning and the overt acts taken were sufficient to support this prosecution and that's why we took this action," Gonzales said. "There is no immediate threat ... part of the reason for that is because they didn't have the materials they requested, they didn't receive the weapons, at least we don't know of."

Later in the day, FBI Director Robert Mueller is expected to make remarks on homegrown terrorism.

Six suspects were arrested on Thursday night in Miami, and a seventh was arrested earlier in Atlanta, Georgia.

Some of the suspects were expected to appear in federal court Friday afternoon.

Batiste "recruited and supervised individuals in order to organize and train for a mission to wage war against the United States government, which included a plot to destroy by explosives the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois," the nation's tallest building, the document said. (Watch why the FBI director says he's scared -- 2:24)

Batiste gave the informant a list of equipment he needed to "wage jihad" including "boots, uniforms, machine guns, radios and vehicles," according to the document, as well as bullet-proof vests and $50,000 in cash.

"In order to obtain funding and support for the mission to wage war against the United States, Narseal Batiste and other conspirators attempted to obtain the support of al Qaeda," the document said.

"... the conspirators pledged an oath to al Qaeda and supported a purported mission of al Qaeda to destroy FBI buildings within the United States," it said.

The document said that Batiste wanted to "attend al Qaeda training, along with five of his soldiers, during the second week of April and further detailed his mission to wage a 'full ground war' against the United States in order to 'kill all the devils we can' ... beginning with the destruction of the Sears Tower."

The indictment accuses the seven men of swearing an oath of loyalty to al Qaeda, Besides Batiste, indictment names Patrick Abraham, Stanley Phanor, Naudimar Herrera, Burson Augustin, Lyglenson Lemorin and Rotschild Augustine.

The document also alleges that the suspects may have been targeting other buildings.

Batiste and Burson Augustin gave the undercover agent photos of Miami's FBI building; photos and video of the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, federal courthouse buildings, the Federal Detention Center and the Miami Police Department; all in Miami-Dade County, according to the indictment.

Law enforcement sources said Thursday that the seven suspects are radical Muslims.

However, senior federal sources told CNN, "These people were not related to al Qaeda." When asked whether they were al Qaeda wannabes, he replied, "possibly."

Sources: 5 suspects American

Federal sources said five of the seven suspects were Americans, one was an illegal immigrant from Haiti whose visa had expired and one man was a resident alien.

No weapons or bomb-making materials were found in the raids, conducted Thursday in the Miami area. One targeted a warehouse in a Liberty City housing project, law enforcement officials said.

No one was inside the warehouse, and it wasn't known where police took the suspects into custody.

The neighborhood was cordoned off around the windowless warehouse about 2 p.m., and neighbors were told to stay inside. Police then showed neighbors photos of the suspects, who had been living in the building since March.

Neighbors said the men, who wore turbans, caused no problems but seemed odd.

"All you could do was just see their eyes. They had their whole head wrapped up. Just the eyes showing. And they were standing guard -- one here, one there -- like soldiers. Very quiet," one woman said.

A man said the men never spoke to neighbors and would just nod their heads if spoken to.

"They was acting like they was in military training," he said.

'Seas of David'

A man who identified himself as "Brother Corey" said five of the men arrested in Miami were his "brothers," members of the group he identified as "Seas of David."

Brother Corey said the group has "soldiers in Chicago," but was peaceful and not associated with any terrorist organizations.

"This is a place where we worship and also have businesses, as a work site as a construction company we are trying to build up," he said, referring to the Liberty City warehouse where the raids took place.

He said the Seas of David is a religious group that blends the teachings of Christianity and Islam.

CNN's Susan Candiotti, John Zarrella, Jeanne Meserve, Mike Brooks and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

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