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Kansas City man who worked for DoD lied about contacts with ISIS recruiters: Authorities

ISIS flag (DoD Photo/Released)

A Kansas City area man once employed under contract as a translator in Afghanistan for the U.S. Department of Defense is accused of lying about his contacts with two recruiters aligned with the ISIS group that was responsible for the bombing of Kabul’s airport in August 2021, which killed 13 American service members.

Mohammad Rafi Mohammadi was arrested Sunday in Kansas City as part of an investigation led by the FBI’s local field office. He faces one charge in the U.S. District of Kansas of making false statements in reference to obtaining his security clearance, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

According to an affidavit filed in the case by an FBI agent, Mohammadi sought that clearance for work as a contract linguist, and answered a question falsely on a federal form in August 2019. On that document, Mohammadi denied ever associating “with anyone involved in activities to further terrorism,” court papers say.

Before then, the FBI and federal prosecutors allege Mohammadi sought to provide support for two people who were actively seeking to recruit and train members of ISIS-K, a division of the terrorist organization centered in Afghanistan’s Khorasan province.

Investigators based their conclusions in part on a review of Mohammadi’s public Facebook posts, social media messages, and statements he allegedly made to a confidential informant in 2021. Mohammadi was also interviewed by the FBI in early October.

Among the evidence referenced in support of the criminal charge were records obtained from Western Union that allegedly show Mohammadi wired $2,000 from a branch in Lenexa to a person in Afghanistan with the aim of having $400 given to an ISIS-K recruiter, identified as Individual #1, in May 2018. Authorities allege Mohammadi also shared Facebook posts around the time concerning that person’s arrest by Afghani national security forces.

In October 2019, Mohammadi was deployed to Afghanistan for work as a linguist. He was allegedly caught sneaking back onto a military base the following month after he left without official permission.

The FBI’s informant alleges Mohammadi admitted to knowing about the arrest of a second ISIS-K recruiter identified as Individual #2. Mohammadi allegedly sought to facilitate that person’s release from custody while overseas, the FBI determined based on the informant’s statements.

As of Wednesday night, court papers did not list an attorney who could speak on Mohammadi’s behalf.


© 2022 The Kansas City Star

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