Federal prosecutors played tapes on Wednesday of a North Carolina man describing his plans to organize a terrorist attack on the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.
The tape of Daniel Patrick Boyd, who pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges in February, was played during the trial of three men accused of plotting terrorist attacks with him.
Boyd could be heard on the recording bragging about how easy it would be for him and a team to gain access to the Marine base and kidnap or kill service members and their families.
"My father was an officer," Boyd, who converted to Islam as a teenager, says on the tapes. "What will they say, their hero's son cutting their head off?"
What Boyd didn't know was that the man he was speaking to, Abdullah Eddarkoui, was a paid informant for the FBI who was wearing a wire.
The secret recording Eddarkoui made of the conversation outside Boyd's house near Raleigh was so clear frogs could be heard croaking in the background.
Eddarkoui was a key witness Wednesday as prosecutors began building their case against three men alleged to have plotted with Boyd and his sons to attack the Marine base and targets overseas.
Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, Ziyad Yaghi and Hysen Sherifi have pleaded not guilty. A fourth defendant, Anes Subasic, has declined to have an attorney represent him and will be tried following the conclusion of the trial for the others.
FBI Agent Paul Minella, who recruited Eddarkoui to work for the government, testified that a multiyear surveillance effort used subpoenas and paid informants to collect a trove of evidence about the group, including bank records, emails, Facebook posts and audio tapes.
Boyd pleaded guilty in February to charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap and injure persons in a foreign country. Now the man who liked to call himself "Safallah," the Arabic word for "Sword of God," is expected to testify for the prosecution.
Two of Boyd's sons, Dylan and Zakariya Boyd, have also pleaded guilty.
Eddarkoui, a Moroccan living in the United States illegally, was working in a Durham beauty supply store in 2005 when Minella recruited him to infiltrate a Raleigh mosque and befriend Boyd, according to testimony. His FBI code name was "Jawbreaker."
In one of the tapes made by the informant, Boyd describes a reconnaissance visit to Quantico and being surprised at how easily he could drive along streets where Marine officers lived. The fact the Virginia base is built around a town, he said, made it a better target than a more secure facility, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
"The generals' wives, they're jogging," he said of Quantico. "Their children are playing."
Boyd said it would be easy to enter the home of a general and hold him hostage.
"I'll kick in his door and take him from his bed," he said.
One of the defendants on trial Wednesday, Hysen Sherifi, was present for some of the taped conversations. Boyd assured the informant Sherifi would participate in an attack.
"Hysen ... he will do it," Boyd told Eddarkoui. "He won't question anything."
Attorneys for Hassan, Yaghi and Sherfi said in their opening arguments that the men are innocent and knew nothing of Boyd's plans. They also worked to undermine Eddarkoui's credibility, pointing out that he got a green card making him a legal United States resident after working with the FBI.
He was also paid nearly $111,000 by the FBI over five years and given another $55,000 for expenses that included buying a car and paying rent for a Raleigh apartment wired with secret microphones.
In a taped conversation, Boyd expressed admiration for terrorist leaders that included Osama bin Laden and said the orders he heard from jihadist leaders with recordings on the Internet were clear: "Hit everything you can that hurt America and the Jew."
After prosecutors say he was foiled in a 2007 plot to commit terrorist attacks in Israel, Boyd turned his attention to the possibility of committing a terrorist attack at home. As an example, he gave the 1994 bombing of the World Trade Center carried out by a group of men from New Jersey.
Though Boyd feared he was under surveillance, he told Eddarkoui that the United States was still a good place to plot and execute a terrorist attack.
"Before you had to be smart," Boyd told the government informant wearing a concealed microphone. "Now you have to be really smart."
Information from: The Sun Journal, http://www.newbernsunjournal.com