A Somali-American from Minnesota has admitted in federal court to training with an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia.
On August 12, 2009, Kamal Said Hassan, 24, pleaded guilty in a Minneapolis federal court to making a false statement to FBI agents regarding his affiliation with the terrorist organization. Six months earlier, Hassan pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism and to a foreign terrorist organization.
Hassan is one of three men to plead guilty in Minnesota to supporting Al Shabaab, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that seeks to overthrow the Somali government. Abdifatah Yusuf Isse and Salah Osman Ahmed pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists in April and July 2009, respectively. The indictments against Hassan, Isse and Ahmed come amidst a federal investigation into the recruitment of Somali-Americans by militants in Somalia. According to authorities, approximately 20 young Somali-American men, mostly from the Minneapolis area, have traveled to Somalia to join Al Shabaab (Arabic for "the Youth") in the past two years.
Hassan told an FBI agent in February 2009 that "after finishing training at an Al Shabaab training camp in Somalia, he left Al Shabaab and traveled to Yemen without taking any further acts on behalf of Al Shabaab," according to the plea agreement. Hassan later admitted in court that he continued to work with Al Shabaab in Somalia after attending the group's training camp. He reportedly returned to the U.S. last winter.
Hassan also admitted to concealing the identities of those he interacted with in Somalia and Minnesota, according to media reports.
Hassan faces a maximum sentence of 38 years in prison.