Prosecutors: Boise terrorism suspect wanted to target military base

BOISE -- A Boise man charged with terrorism told an informant before his arrest that a military base would be his preferred target for a potential bomb attack, according to court documents.

"For me the best … a military base," 31-year-old Fazliddin Kurbanov allegedly told the FBI source during a secretly-recorded conversation."If I have every stuff… Like bomb, like this and this one. I want to kill a lot of military or every. I don't know, whatever."

Kurbanov, a Uzbekistan national who came to Boise as a refugee in 2009, is accused of funneling personnel, software and money to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Members of the IMU fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and seek to overthrow the government of Uzbekistan and replace it with an Islamist caliphate, according to the National Counterterrorism Center.

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The suspect has also been indicted in Utah on charges that he traveled to the state to recruit new members to the IMU and teach them how to build bombs to target public transportation. It's not clear whether had any specific targets in the United States.

The FBI's source, who captured the conversation about potential targets, was among those who spent hours with Kurbanov as he showed bomb-making videos and discussed the best way to construct explosives, according to prosecutors.

Kurbanov even boasted to an affiliate of IMU how easy it was to get the ingredients he needed to build bombs in America.

"We are learning this business, but you are more experienced.That's why you teach us the basics. God willing, it is close... There are plenty of these kind of vehicles we have available here...In just a regular store you know, both the ammonium nitrate and sulfate are available. Gunpowder is available as well. There are AK, M16, bullets, everything," Kurbanov wrote in an online message recovered by the FBI. "But we need to know how to connect the wires, how much and what to do. Also it would be great if we learn how to operate the remotely controlled ones. While some are operated remotely, others will be by ourselves. We don't have many people, but it will be great, God willing."

Police and FBI agents seized numerous hard drives, computers and phones during Kurbanov's arrest in May 2013. The raid also yielded a hollow hand grenade, fuse, ammunition and explosive components in the suspect's Boise Bench apartment.

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The new information was released in a filing from Prosecutor Aaron Lucoff last month, in response to the defense team's bid to suppress several statements Kurbanov made to FBI agents after his arrest.

Defense attorney Charles Peterson argues the FBI made several missteps in its handling of Kurbanov's interrogation.

Peterson says the agents asked Kurbanov two questions before reading him his rights, failed to tell him that he had already been charged with a terrorism-related crime in Utah and did not provide him with an attorney when he asked if his lawyer was in the building. The cultural disconnect between law enforcement in the U.S. and Kurbanov's home country was also an issue, according to the defense attorney.

"He did not understand the justice system and his only experience with the law involved questioning in Uzbekistan by authorities who required that he answer their questions," Peterson wrote in the filing.

The filing also raises concerns about whether the Uzbek translator was correctly relaying what Kurbanov told the agents, and vice versa.

But prosecutors maintain that Kurbanov did not raise any issues with the translation during the interview and clearly agreed to speak to the agents without a lawyer present.

The questions agents posed to Kurbanov as he was being taken into custody were whether there was anything in his home that was a threat to the agents searching it, and whether he knew of any imminent threat or danger to the United States, Idaho, or any other place. Kurbanov answered 'no' to both.

Lucoff argues that the answer to both questions was a public safety issue, and appropriate to ask even if the suspect had not yet been advised of his rights.

A judge will decide whether to suppress what Kurbanov's statements during a hearing Thursday.


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