Foxes are guarding the hen house in Obama’s America. Three days ago, on March 25, 2015, an Illinois National Guardsman and his cousin were arrested for planning a mass terror attack on a military facility in Joliet, Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports, March 27, 2015, that federal authorities say Hasan and Jonas Edmonds had been aspiring terrorists for months when they arrived at the Joliet Armory on Tuesday to scout out a brazen attack.
Hasan Edmonds, 22, a specialist with the Illinois National Guard who had trained at the Joliet Armory since 2011, talked with his cousin, 29-year-old Jonas Edmonds, and an accomplice about where the soldiers might be stationed inside, which rooms to avoid and the firepower that would be required, according to prosecutors. Hasan then went into the low brick building to pick up a military training schedule for Jonas, who was going to carry out the attack later wearing his cousin’s uniform and carrying AK-47s and grenades.
If all had gone according to plan, the body count could reach 150.
What the cousins didn’t know was that the accomplice was an undercover FBI informant. In fact, federal agents had been tracking them since late last year when Hasan exchanged Facebook messages with an agent posing as a militant about his desire to travel to the Middle East to join the Muslim jihadists Islamic State or ISIS.
The plot unraveled Wednesday evening as FBI agents arrested Hasan Edmonds , at Midway Airport as he prepared to board a flight to Detroit and on to Cairo to join terrorist fighters overseas. Two hours later, Jonas Edmonds was arrested at his home in an Aurora subdivision. Both are charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, which carries up to 15 years in prison on conviction.
Meanwhile, news of the charges shocked neighbors and left some acquaintances scratching their heads. Felisha Allen, a onetime stepmother to Hasan Edwards, told the Tribune she was stunned to hear the allegations against the man whom she had raised. Describing the man who was plotting mass murder as “a good person” who was drawn to the unity of the Islamic faith, Allen said, “Something like this is hard to grasp. Is it a dream? I don’t even know what to believe.”
The cousins attended West Aurora High School, according to district spokesman Tony Martinez. Hasan Edmonds graduated in 2011. while Jonas Edmonds left school as a senior in 2004. That same year, Jonas Edmonds and two others were charged in suburban Atlanta in the armed robbery of a McDonald’s restaurant, court records show. He pleaded guilty in 2005, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and released in June 2010.
Court records show Hasan Edmonds’ father, Lieukennye Edmonds, 46, is serving a prison sentence for failing to register as a sex offender stemming from a 1990s conviction for the attempted sexual assault of an Aurora woman.
Lt. Col. Brad Leighton, a spokesman for the Illinois National Guard, said Hasan joined the guard in August 2011 and was a supply specialist — responsible for ordering uniforms and other equipment — with the Joliet-based 634th Brigade Support Battalion. He last drilled with the guard for a weekend this month.
Leighton said federal authorities recently informed the guard that Hasan was under investigation, leading them to take “discrete but concrete steps” to ensure he didn’t have access to equipment or computers and to give Hasan different duties.
According to the 33-page criminal complaint, the FBI began investigating Hasan Edmonds late last year when agents discovered that he and Jonas Edmonds allegedly had devised a plan for Hasan to travel overseas and use his military training to fight for Islamic State. In several online exchanges, Hasan Edmonds said that if he was unable to get to Syria he would stay in the U.S. and “fight and die here in the name of Allah.” In a message Jan. 30, he told the undercover agent that the best way to beat the U.S. and its Army was to “break their will” and that “With the U.S., no matter how many you kill they will keep coming unless the soldiers and the American public no longer have the will to fight. If we can break their spirits we will win.”
On Feb. 2, Hasan Edmonds contacted the undercover agent again and said his cousin was willing to carry out the attack on U.S. soil. “Honestly we would love to do something like the brother in Paris did,” Hasan Edmonds allegedly wrote in a reference to the January terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine’s headquarters in France in which 16 people were slain.
Last month, Jonas Edmonds began communicating online with another undercover operative who was posing as someone who could help the cousins in their quest to join Islamic State. The cousins met with that purported accomplice Monday to discuss the planned attack on the Joliet military facility. Jonas told the operative that after his cousin left for the Middle East, he planned to purchase weapons, including AK-47 assault rifles and grenades, and then attack the base. The charges brought against the Edmondses are the latest in a string of terrorism-related cases stemming from Chicago’s suburbs, including:
- In 2013, federal authorities charged Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, with providing material support to terrorists after he allegedly pledged on a fake recruitment website — secretly operated by the FBI — to join terrorists in Syria. He was arrested at O’Hare International Airport as he was about to board a flight to Turkey. Tounisi, who was 18 at the time, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
- Last year, Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, was charged with plotting to join Islamic State after he was arrested at O’Hare, where authorities alleged he and his two younger siblings were about to board a flight to Istanbul. Khan has pleaded not guilty, and his siblings, who are minors, were not charged.