The January 2009 call from an immigration detention center in Pearsall relayed a disturbing tip: A fellow inmate was swearing allegiance to terrorist groups.
Within days, FBI agents in San Antonio had wired a tipster and later an undercover source, both of whom recorded Abdullah Omar Fidse, a Somali caught crossing the border illegally in the Rio Grande Valley, allegedly saying more troubling things.
Fidse, 22, spoke about a plot to assassinate the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, FBI special agent Mark Wagoner testified Thursday at a bail hearing in San Antonio for Fidse and a Somali woman, Deka Abdalla Sheikh.
Wagoner said Fidse also mentioned he had been a cook for Osama bin Laden, and that he was “in tears” after a U.S. airstrike in Somalia in 2008 killed Aden Ayro, head of the extreme Islamic group al-Shabaab.
Fidse “spoke about jihad,” Wagoner said. “He also recited the Koran ... phrases like ‘Gather your horses and weapons and terrorize the infidels.'”
Fidse and Sheikh were indicted last month, charged with lying in asylum proceedings and to the FBI. Wagoner's testimony helped convince U.S. Magistrate Judge John Primomo to deny the pair bail.
Neither is charged with terrorism.
The pair was initially detained at the Hidalgo port of entry in January 2008. None had any identification, but both claimed persecution in their home country and sought asylum. Sheikh eventually got it, was granted temporary permanent residence and was living in Wisconsin before her arrest.Sheikh's attorney, Theresa Connolly, said her client fled the violence in Somalia, where insurgents killed her aunt and threw Sheikh across a room.When agents confronted Fidse with the tape, Wagoner said, he denied it was his voice on the recording, but later relented.“I like to embellish things,” Wagoner quoted Fidse as saying. “I want to be a politician.”