New York: Two US citizens were charged on Friday with conspiring to provide computer assistance, watches and other support to help "modernise" al Qaeda.
A vaguely worded indictment unsealed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan accused Wesam El-Hanafi of travelling to Yemen to meet with unnamed al Qaeda members in February 2008.
The terrorists "instructed him on operational security measures and directed him to perform tasks for al Qaeda," the indictment says. While there, he also "took an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda," it adds.
In February 2008, El-Hanafi bought computer software that allowed him to secretly communicate over the Internet, federal prosecutors allege.
That summer, he met with an unnamed co-conspirator and the second defendant, Sabirhan Hasanoff, in Brooklyn to discuss joining al Qaeda, according to the indictment.
The confidential co-conspirator paid USD 50,000 to Hasanoff, who later travelled to New York City and performed unspecified "tasks for al Qaeda," the court papers say.
The papers say that the conspiracy included El-Hanafi purchasing seven Casio digital watches, but doesn`t say why.
In a statement, US Attorney Preet Bharara said the men had schemed "to modernise al Qaeda by providing computer systems expertise and other goods and services”.