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Originally published Monday, April 8, 2013 at 8:10 PM

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Partner gets 17 years in Seattle terror plot

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Seventeen years for plotting to kill and spread terror. It doesn't seem like enough... MORE
It's more time than drunk drivers get for actually killing people. MORE

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A former Los Angeles resident was sentenced Monday to 17 years in federal prison for his role in the foiled July 2011 plot to attack a military installation in Seattle, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Walli Mujahidh, 34, had pleaded guilty in December to charges of conspiracy to kill United States officers, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Federal prosecutors said Mujahidh and Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif plotted to kill U.S. military recruits in a machine-gun and grenade attack on the day after Fourth of July 2011 in hopes of inspiring like-minded Muslims in the U.S. to carry out terrorist attacks. Their target, according to federal prosecutors, was the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) on East Marginal Way South.

Abdul-Latif, 35, was sentenced last month to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and to murder U.S. officers.

Police learned of the plot through a paid informant, Robert Childs, a five-time convicted sex offender, who secretly recorded conversations with the men, according to an indictment.

The FBI said the informant recorded conversations in which Abdul-Latif said he hoped the attack would inspire other young Muslims to rise up against the West.

According to court documents and law-enforcement sources, Abdul-Latif had first picked Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a target in part because Stryker soldiers based there were facing court-martial in the deaths of Afghan civilians. The target was changed to the MEPS because the base was considered too large and hard to penetrate.

Federal agents began monitoring Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh in early June 2011 after Mujahidh traveled to Seattle from Los Angeles to prepare for the attack.

The two were captured on audio and video surveillance talking about their intentions to attack the center with machine guns and grenades. They were arrested that month after they bought three firearms from the informant, court documents say. The weapons had been secretly disabled.

In their sentencing memo, federal prosecutors said, “Mujahidh made clear that he was eager to kill his intended victims, and as many as possible. He made numerous statements along these lines while he and Abdul-Latif planned out the play-by-play movements of the attackers using the map of the Federal Center South building.”

“This defendant was a coldhearted, enthusiastic partner in this murderous scheme. He talked at length in recorded conversations about the innocent people he planned to gun down,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a statement. “Even after his arrest, he boldly tried to justify his plot.”

Christine Clarridge can be reached at cclarridge@seattletimes.com or 206-464-8983.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

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