FBI: Man made e-mail threats
June 19, 2002
Federal agents have arrested a Miramar data-entry clerk, saying he sent tips to the FBI about an alleged terror plotter who turned out to be himself.
Safraz Jehaludi, 21, was arrested June 17 by the Secret Service. He is charged with using ''an instrument of interstate or foreign commerce'' to make a threat, which carries a possible penalty of 10 years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Jehaludi sent e-mail to the FBI claiming to have overheard a man threatening to ''blow up'' both the White House and an unspecified Florida Power & Light Co. plant.
According to authorities, the e-mails identified the plotter as Jehaludi.
The FBI website received a series of anonymous tips about the alleged scheme. The tips were traced back to computers at Jehaludi's place of business, Kemper Risk Management Services of Plantation, and the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute, where Jehaludi attended classes. Both computers had been used by Jehaludi, authorities said.
''My son is not capable of doing something like this,'' said Safraz's mother, Rehannah Jehaludi, of Waterbury, Conn. ``He doesn't do anything wrong. Who could do this to him?''
She said her son was born in the United States.
After receiving the first tip, on May 31, FBI agents interviewed Jehaludi. During the interview, Jehaludi denied he had made threats.
Thursday, the FBI received another tip, this one sent on June 11. The message stated: ''I put in a tip a few weeks ago saying Safraz Jehaludi was plotting to kill the President and blow up the White House and FP&L.'' The tip said that since the FBI's interview, Jehaludi had become very upset and was planning to ``possibly start his attacks as soon as 6/14/02.''
The computer used to generate this message was at the Art Institute.
The school's security staff determined the FBI website had been viewed three different times from school computers over the past few weeks.
A camera monitor showed Jehaludi using the computer one of those times, which coincided with the sending of the e-mail.
Agents interviewed Jehaludi on Monday at Kemper Risk. Again, he denied knowing who had sent the tips to the FBI. But after being shown the photo from the school, Jehaludi acknowledged he had sent the messages, the U.S. attorney's office said.
His mother remained skeptical.
''He was so happy down there,'' said Rehannah Jehaludi. ``He called his father on Father's Day. I don't believe this happened.''