The most chilling part of the indictment, though, is a section describing an e-mail group managed and edited solely by al-Hussayen, in which an appeal was made for information from Muslims in the U.S. military that would aid terrorist attacks on American personnel, including the murder of a ?specifically identified high-ranking American military official.?
Although the charges do not tie the Saudi national to 9/11, some evidence surrounding al-Hussayen is troubling. Reportedly found on his computer hard drive were thousands of photos of the World Trade Center, both before and after September 11.
Then there?s the family connection.
According to court documents, al-Hussayen?s uncle traveled to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia and ?stayed in the same hotel in the Herndon, Va., area as three of the Sept. 11 hijackers of Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon.?
Though northern Idaho or eastern Washington might seem like a strange destination for students from the Middle East, roughly one-half of the Muslims in Moscow, Idaho and one-fourth in Pullman, Washington are Saudis, according to estimates of several local Muslims.
The Saudi ties appear to be longstanding. When the mosque at WSU was built in the late 1970?s, most of the funding came from the Gulf?principally from Saudi Arabia?according to a longtime Muslim resident in the area.
What remains uncertain at this point is what role the local Muslim community had in impacting Anderson?s Islamic development. Several local sources claim he was a member of the Muslim Students Association, whose national organization was Saudi-created and funded. (Al-Hussayen was president of Idaho?s MSA chapter.)
Several members of Washington State?s MSA deny that Anderson was an active member, however, including past MSA president Irshad Altheimer. Altheimer said that he accompanied Anderson to mosque services for a month during Ramadan in 2000, but that he never saw much of the now-detained National Guardsman after that.
Investigators are not ruling out a connection to the local Muslim community in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney?s office in Boise, Idaho said that no ties have yet been found, but quickly added, ?Our investigation is still ongoing.?
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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