According to Katherine Herridge on FOX News this minute, there is an investigation underway into Muslim soldiers at Fort Jackson, South Carolina attempting to poison the food supply on base. This appears to be connected to an Arabic language translator program. Ongoing updates as info becomes available. I’ll have links confirming latest news as soon as possible. Update 2-19-10 9:35 AM CDT: Katherine Herridge on FOX this minute saying the military is investigating, but that after two months, the FBI is NOT involved.
Update 2-19-10: Important commentary on this story.
CBN by Erick Stakelbeck
This morning, I spoke to Army CID spokesman Christopher Gray and
learned more details about a possible poisoning plot that I first
reported here yesterday after CBN confirmed with Patrick Jones of
Fort Jackson’s Public Affairs Office and a reliable source with intimate
knowledge of the investigation. Here is the latest on what we do know.
According to Gray, the Army is investigating allegations that a group
of soldiers from the 09 Lima program (more on that later in this post)
at Fort Jackson–which is based in South Carolina–had talked about
poisoning food in the base’s mess hall. The men were questioned about
two months ago, around Christmas. Gray said that to protect the
integrity of the investigation, he could not comment further. He
stressed that the investigation is “open and continuing.”
CBN News also spoke to a Department of Homeland Security official
with knowledge of the investigation who wished to remain anonymous. The
official confirmed that the investigation was ongoing and said that
someone in the Lima 09 program overheard five Muslim colleagues talking
about poisoning food at the base. The person then reported the men, who
were brought in for questioning.
The DHS official stressed that after the terrorist massacre at Fort
Hood, the Army is taking a zero tolerance policy towards any potential
threatening statements and is now extremely sensitive about any
allegations in that regard.
Terrorism expert Patrick Poole, an anti-terrorism consultant for the
U.S. military and law enforcement, told CBN News that “if this incident
had become public in late December while the military was still working
on the Ft. Hood report it would have no doubt been catastrophic. What
exactly happened at Ft. Jackson and why is this only coming out now?
That’s a question that Congress should be asking. “
“As noted in the Washington
Times last month,” Poole continued. “My colleagues and I have been
warning of jihadist threats – both external and internal – for several
years. The Pentagon has entirely ignored us and the Ft. Hood report
released last month is evidence of the culture of willful blindness that
wants to pretend this threat doesn’t exist. Regardless of how the Ft.
Jackson incident is resolved, it demonstrates that this threat is not
I spoke today to Army spokesman Christopher Garver, who said the five
men are not currently in custody. He was unclear whether the men who
were questioned were U.S.citizens. And that brings us to another
interesting wrinkle to this story.
According to my colleague, CBN
Military Correspondent Chuck Holton, the 09 Lima program, which
these men are a part of:
…is specifically geared
towards non-US citizens who bring to the table one very in-demand skill –
the ability to speak fluent Arabic, Dari, Pashto, or some other needed
language. But these recruits also have a handicap – their grasp of the
English language is not sufficient to allow them to make it through
basic training. So the 09 Lima program puts them through a sort of
pre-basic basic, where they learn American culture, Army culture and
work on their English language skills. Once they finish the course,
they are then able to enter normal basic training. It’ is a very small
program, with something less
than forty recruits in each class.
interesting part. According to Lt. Col. Frank Demith,
these recruits are offered an “expedited citizenship program, once they
serve one day of honorable active duty.”
service has always been a way for non-citizen US residents to obtain
citizenship, and thousands have performed honorably in service to our
country before it actually became their country.
Though the Army must certainly have a thorough vetting process in
place to try and avoid a scenario like that described by Erick
Stakelbeck’s recent blog, in the case of the 09 Lima program, the
ability to receive “expedited American citizenship” must present a
tempting opportunity for jihadi extremists with ulterior motives.
This is relevant not only because of the Fort Hood case, but because
in the last month, there was an incident (see here) of
an interpreter in Afghanistan murdering U.S. troops.
The following is yesterday’s post
CBN has the story now, dated February 18, 2010:
CBN News has learned exclusively that five Muslim soldiers
at Fort Jackson in South Carolina were arrested just before Christmas
and are in custody. The five men were part of the Arabic Translation
program at the base.
Patrick Jones, the Deputy Public Affairs Officer for Fort Jackson,
confirmed for CBN News Thursday afternoon that an investigation was
Prior to this posting, CBN News learned that these details were
also confirmed by a government official with knowledge of the
The men are suspected of trying to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson.
A source with intimate knowledge of the investigation, which is
ongoing, told CBN News investigators suspect the “Fort Jackson Five”
may have been in contact with the group of five Washington, DC area
Muslims that traveled to Pakistan to wage jihad against U.S. troops in
December. That group was arrested by Pakistani authorities, also just
From FOX News, this cautious report:
The ongoing probe began two months ago, Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, told Fox News.
Army is taking the allegations “extremely seriously,” Grey said, but so
far, “there is no credible information to support the allegations.”
suspects were part of a Arabic translation program called “09 Lima” and
use Arabic as their first language, two sources told Fox News. Another
military source said they were Muslim.
Grey would not confirm or deny the sources’ information.
Fort Jackson is the U.S. Army’s largest training center. The English as a Second Language (ESL) program moved to Fort Jackson, S.C. from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. This program is for translators and interpreters, and is the first step for Arabic-speakers wanting to become interpreters for the U.S. Army.
The CBN report above cited the arrest of 5 Muslim Americans in Pakistan in December which may be connected to the Fort Jackson story. Here are some quick details:
young Muslim American men were arrested in Pakistan yesterday after
police raided a house with alleged ties to Islamic militants, according
to various media reports. Their discovery in Pakistan yesterday is one
more piece of evidence that radicalized American Muslims are traveling
overseas for training in their desire to wage jihad.
The men, ranging in age from their late teens to their mid 20s,
vanished from their Northern Virginia suburbs in late November. When
they arrived in Pakistan, according to The New York Times, the five men went searching for extremist contacts in an effort to reach Afghanistan and fight U.S.-led forces.After touching down in Karachi, Pakistan’s
biggest city, the men tried to join an extremist Islamic school near
Karachi and approached another extremist organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa,
in the eastern city of Lahore, the officials said.They were rebuffed in both places because of
their Western demeanor and the fact that they did not speak the
national language, Urdu, an investigator said. They then came here, to
Sargodha, a city in the north of Punjab Province, en route to North
Waziristan, said the police chief of Sargodha, Usman Anwar.
The men were arrested at the home of an uncle of the eldest of the
group, Umer Farooq, 25. Farooq’s parents were also in the house during
the raid and his father, Khalid, was also arrested. He is alleged to
have ties with Jaish-e-Mohammed, an outlawed militant group fighting
for the disputed territory of Kashmir with India, and also knew his son
was wanted by the FBI, reports the Times.
End CBN report dated February 19th, 2010, time stamped 12:36 PM
Read the entire story of the December arrest in Pakistan at Security Management.
Ace of Spades