Paul and Nadia Rockwood. Photo from FOX News.
An Alaskan husband and wife have pled guilty to lying to Joint Terrorism Task Force agents about their plot to target and kill individuals who “desecrated Islam.” Paul and Nadia Rockwood of King Salmon, a small community with a population of only a few hundred, were accused of compiling a hit list that included members of the media, the military, and religious organizations. Paul, who played a larger role in the planning, has agreed to serve eight years in prison, while his pregnant wife will only serve probation.
Paul Rockwood converted to Islam sometime around 2002, while living in Virginia. Soon after his conversion, he became a strict adherent of the teachings of radical al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki. The cleric’s “Constants on the Path to Jihad” and “44 Ways to Jihad” played an integral role in Rockwood’s radicalization. He began the very early stages of his terror planning prior to moving to Alaska in 2006. But it was in Alaska that Rockwood’s plot began to take form and his intentions became clearer.
The hit list compiled by Rockwood was obtained by FBI agents after he gave it to his wife Nadia prior to a trip to Anchorage in April of this year. On May 19, Joint Terrorism Task Force Agents confronted Rockwood with the hit list. He denied his involvement in the plot. It is from this encounter and questioning that prosecutors say Rockwood gave them false information; according to his attorney, Rockwood had claimed that an undercover Alaska state trooper whom he had previously befriended was responsible for compiling the list.
From the plea agreement:
Along with the development of selected targets, ROCKWOOD also began researching method and means to exact revenge on his intended targets. Among other topics, ROCKWOOD researched individual explosive components, construction of remote triggering devices such as cellular telephones, and the construction of improvised explosive devices for delivery by common carrier.
Sometime in late 2009, ROCKWOOD began sharing his ideas about committing acts of terrorism, including discussing the use of mail bombs and the possibility of killing targets by gunshot to the head. By early 2010, Rockwood’s intended target list was formalized to include approximately 15 specific targets.
“This was not a case of ‘if’, but a case of ‘when’ with the ‘when’ becoming more likely with Rockwood’s departure from King Salmon,” the government said.
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