Skip to comments.Two Middle East men arrested outside Pentagon - Fake drivers’ licenses spur troopers to call in FBI
Posted on 02/12/2002 9:06:27 PM PST by Shermy
NBC News has learned that the FBI has arrested two men of Middle Eastern background who were driving Monday night outside the Pentagon in a tow truck. The FBI is investigating the men to see if they have any terrorist connections.
LUCY CALDWELL, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, told NBC News that state troopers pulled the men over Monday at 10:05 p.m. as they were driving on Route 110 by the Pentagon. Commercial vehicles, including tow trucks, have been prohibited from using that road since November, Caldwell said. She added that the men ignored a trooper who was trying to signal them to pull over their truck. A second trooper down the highway was able to get them to stop. He searched the truck and found numerous false identification cards, Caldwell said, including a half dozen drivers licenses from several states with different identities on them. Once the trooper saw the fake IDs, he called in the FBI.
Virginia state police have charged the men, whose names were not released, with traffic violations and possession of false identification. The FBI interviewed them at length Tuesday and, federal law enforcement sources say, still are trying to establish who they are. The sources say they expect the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia to file federal charges Wednesday against the men in the U.S. District Courthouse in Alexandria, Va.
The men were not armed. Bomb-sniffing dogs searched the truck, but found no explosives or explosive residue, Caldwell said.
The arrest took place just two hours after the FBI announced its latest terrorist warning Monday night. The FBI warned the public that an attack might be planned for as early as Tuesday and told the American public to be on the lookout for a Yemeni man and 16 alleged associates.
Attorney General John Ashcroft on Tuesday urged the nation to be on the highest state of alert.
[more on other suspects from other places at link]
There is a possibility that these guys really didn't understand that tow trucks aren't allowed on Route 110. The big orange warning signs don't make that perfectly clear, explictly prohibiting only "trucks and buses." A reasonable person might think that means "big trucks," not a pickup truck or a tow truck or a plumber's van (what's the difference between a Chevy Astro family van and a Chevy Astro work van?).
Also, the first State Police checkpoint might confuse anyone, especially at 10:00PM. I was a bit mystified when I went through it for the first time.
Of course, they were carrying the phony IDs.
Yeah, maybe trying to steal a vehicle with a pentagon parking pass, load it up with explosives, pass through the gate then gun it towards the lobby...
I guess these two are about to Gitmo than they bargained for.
Speaking of fake ID .... The super-lucrative LA Tow Truck deal has fallen, in many parts of the city, totally into ... of all things ... Iranian hands.
The multiple fake IDs and an insurance pool is the way they work it. Naturally drivers need ID, and naturally the vehicles have to be insured.
The licenses are fakes. The insurance is real enough, but one policy covers all the trucks from one or two operations: if there's an accident or a claim, they radio in the info and the insurance broker who's in on the scam, fills in the blanks on an open policy.
They communicate by radio in Farsi. They have dominated the business by keeping their costs low. Their drivers look like really scary dudes... betcha there's a lot of 'student visas' that need a look-over here. It's gotten so bad, that illegal Mexican immigrants may be taking the illegal Iranians to court for illegal job discrimination!Hopefully, at least the judge will be a legal resident.
Every automobile-based scam in LA has been rather neatly divided up by Middle Easterners of one stripe or another, from salvage titles, to used cars, to shipping hot SUV's to the Vladivostok market.
This is apparently a world-wide thing. Dodi Fayed's Mercedes .... the one in which Princess Di copped it ... was a salvage title car!
Yo, I thought you two should know.
I disagree. We do NOT need illegal alien labor. The cost to society in the long run is *far* greater from millions of illegals, than the immediate small increases in prices we would incur were we serious about keeping them out of the country.
Francohio: it may also be noted that a free enterprise system (the USA) is extremely easy to penetrate with cover "proprietary front companies" (eg a tow truck company) since they can be secretly subsidized by the host nation. That is to say, your costs will always be lower, and you will never go out of business, if Iran is secretly funneling cash to you.
I'd also look closely at POL shipping firms. You don't need explosives if you can put 8,000 gallons of high octane gasoline into the lobby of a corporate HQ building at 75 MPH.
If these guys got into the security area by accident, they're still morons. If you have an illegal haul of something, going near the Pentagon or any other high security area is a very stupid move. The way to do it is to drive in an area of low security, make sure the car's material condition, license plates, and insurance are all legal. Obey the traffic laws and do everything possible to blend in.
Whatever the intent, these guys are total idiots.
Your comment also explains how these businesses survive and support large numbers of people without turning any obvious local profit. There is also a huge untaxed profit potential in the export of used automobiles, used office equipment, used manufacturing machinery.
*Fwiw, their names don't really mean a whole hell of a lot since most of these sobs have numerous aliases.
~ Snip ~
One of the men, Imad Hamed, was to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday on a charge of document identification fraud, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The other man detained after the incident Monday night is in the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The men also had been charged with state traffic violations, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.
The tow truck was a gift from the People Republic of Seattle to their down trodden Arabic Brothers to enable them to enact pay back agains the Evil Americans!
Ikanakattara replied: I disagree. We do NOT need illegal alien labor.
I agree with Ikan, if we weren't massively importing illegal laborers American workers would do the jobs required. Doesn't anyone ever wonder how illegal immigration flourished alongside the growth of the welfare system? How about all those unemployed youths I'm always hearing about? Are they too good, too fine, too delicate to wash cars? wash dishes? wait tables?
And as for 'educated' jobs, legal and illegal immigrants have taken the pressure off the Government Schools to produce students who can read, write & do math.
Who pays the price? We, the taxpayers. Who suffers? The poor of America.
I'm a Buchananite now. THIS MUST END!
Men in truck arrested near Pentagon By LAURIE KELLMAN
WASHINGTON Federal prosecutors mindful of new terrorism warnings sought the identity Wednesday of a man charged with carrying fake identification on a road near the Pentagon. A judge ordered the man held.
"There is a substantial risk of the defendant's flight," U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan said of the man, identified in court papers as "Imad Abdel-Fattah Hamed, aka Imad Nimer."
A criminal complaint filed by the FBI revealed that Hamed was interviewed previously by the agency, on Oct. 22. An FBI supervisor, Steve Berry, would not elaborate on the initial interview.
I wonder what that was about?
Just hours after the FBI issued a terrorist alert Monday night, Hamed and another man were detained by state and federal law enforcement officials as Hamed drove a tow truck on Route 110, which passes close by the Pentagon. The route was closed to commercial and other big vehicles after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, one of which tore a hole in the side of the Pentagon and killed 189 people.
According to the FBI complaint, state police found a variety of driver's licenses and other false government-issued documents. The men offered several explanations for why they were there and where they were going, the complaint said.
"Their motivations are still unclear," Virginia State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said.
The mystery rattled law enforcement and other government officials who have been on high alert since the Pentagon and the World Trade Center attacks. Monday night, the FBI issued its latest terror alert, warning of an unspecified attack possibly as early as Tuesday.
"The timing of this apparent attempt to breach security, after the latest FBI warning of a specific and credible terrorist threat, certainly gives me pause," Virginia Gov. Mark Warner said in a statement.
There was no indication of a connection between the men and 18 named Monday by the FBI as possible conspirators in a terror attack thought planned for this week. A Justice Department official said a check of immigration records showed no indication any the 18 ever have been in the United States.
After questioning by the FBI, the passenger in the truck Hamed was driving was turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He was detained and was not identified publicly.
Meanwhile, federal law enforcement authorities took custody of Hamed, who appeared Wednesday at the U.S. District Courthouse in Alexandria, Va.
He is charged with committing identification document fraud and making false statements, which carry on conviction a sentence as high as 15 years in jail, according to prosecutor John Morton.
"We are busily engaged in determining what Mr. Hamed's true identification and true nationality is," Morton said.
Hamed, clad in a white short-sleeved shirt and black jeans and wearing a mustache and beard, asked Buchanan what to do about his job and said he could afford a lawyer before being led away. Buchanan set a preliminary hearing for Friday.
Traveling south on Route 110 about 10:30 p.m. Monday, the tow truck drove past signs erected in November that prohibit commercial vehicles on the road, according to the complaint.
Officers in a police cruiser who watched the truck go by alerted a second team stationed farther along the road.
The second team questioned the driver and passenger, "both of whom appeared to be Middle Eastern males," according to the complaint, and found several false driver's licenses and other government documents inside. Several of the documents bore pictures matching those of the driver and passenger but had conflicting addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
The truck bore a Virginia inspection sticker and temporary Maryland tags, the complaint said.
FBI dogs searched the truck for weapons and explosives but turned up none, Caldwell said.
ON THE WEB: FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/
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