California Student Allegedly Planned to Join Al Qaeda, Target L.A. Subway

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LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 3:  Passengers board Metrolink subway trains during rush hour June 3, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Skyrocketing gas prices are driving more commuters to take trains and buses to work instead of their cars. In the first three months of 2008, the number of trips taken on public transport in the US rose 3 percent to 2.6 billion, creating pressures on some transportation systems to cope with increasing ridership. Transit officials in southern California and elsewhere are now encouraging employers to stagger employee schedules to ease the rush hour crunch on trains and buses and Metrolink plans to add 107 rail cars to its fleet of 155 as soon as next year.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Photo: David McNew/2008 Getty Images

On Monday a 20-year-old California college student who was allegedly planning to join an Al Qaeda splinter group in Syria was arrested in Washington on an Amtrak bus headed for the Canadian border. According to a 23-page affidavit, Nicholas Teausant, a student at San Joaquin Delta Community College and member of the National Guard, told a confidential source that he planned to travel from Canada to Syria, where he would join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The complaint says he also hatched a plan with seven other people to target L.A.'s subway system around New Year's Day, but the plot was abandoned over fears that the authorities had been "tipped off" – which, as turns out, were legitimate. 

"My designs have me staying [in Syria] and being on every news station in the world," he reportedly told an FBI informant. "Like I want my face on FBI's top 12 most wanted. Because that means I'm doing something right." He sort of got his wish, but instead of gaining notoriety as an American in an Islamist militant group, every news outlet is reporting that he's been charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and is facing a maximum sentence of fifteen years and a fine of $250,000.