SEATTLE — Two men were recently sentenced for a terror plot to kill as many people as possible at a military processing center in south Seattle.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif got 18 years in prison and Walli Mujahidh received 17 years.
The plot unraveled after Abdul-Latif asked a fellow radical Muslim he met in prison to help with the attack. What he didn’t know was the man he asked wanted to save lives, not take them.
“He (the man who became an informant) was the reason that people were not killed here,” said acting Seattle police Lt. Erik Allen, who was a sergeant in the intelligence unit when the informant, ‘Robert’, approached police about Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh.
“Were it not for the information he provided, if it were not for his change of heart, we absolutely would have had a tragedy that would have been on the scale of Fort Hood (Texas, where 13 were killed on the military base by a lone gunman in 2009), if not greater. We would have had three times the shooters they had at Fort Hood so he played the critical role.”
But the route he took to go from convicted felon and radical Muslim to informant in a terror plot first took Robert far away from Seattle. His traveled to Turkey.
“My original intent was to use that (Turkey) as a means to get into Chechnya; I actually wanted to go over there and fight for the Muslims,” Robert said.
But Robert made friends in Turkey with a German man named Tillman Geske.
“He’s (Geske) in Turkey as a Christian missionary running a Christian publishing house there, and our informant gets to know him because he is another English-speaking person in the same community,” Allen said.
Robert liked Geske, who, along with two other Christians, produced study bibles before they were savagely killed by Turkish radicals.
“Tillman alone was stabbed over 150 times; he was disemboweled,” Robert said.
He said his friend’s slaying changed his mindset.
“He was just awestruck that that man was targeted to be killed, because he was a good man, he was just helping people,” Allen said.
“I was appalled and essentially it was one of those questions where I asked myself, am I this type of person?” Robert said.
Robert literally came back a changed man. But Abdul-Latif didn’t know that. He thought the radical Muslim who left was the same one who returned. When he asked Robert about getting automatic weapons for the planned attack in Seattle, Robert turned informant.
Robert was asked what he thought Tillman think about him stopping this terrorist plot.
“To him, it was just God’s will,” Robert said. “It had nothing to do with whether he was alive or dead, whether I was present or not. It was just God’s will.”
Allen said he believes it was providence that Geske and Robert met in Turkey.
“His sacrifice, him being martyred there in Turkey, was the transformative event. It was the thing that changed the mind of the guy that`s going to be in position to stop a crime here in Seattle years later,” Allen said.
Robert was paid as an informant, but said he didn’t ask for the money, he just wanted his criminal record wiped clean. That has not happened yet.