Undercover video acquired by CBS 2's Miami sister station, WFOR-TV CBS 4, reveals an inside look at a suspected terror group leader accused in a plot to target U.S. landmarks, including the Sears Tower.
The suspected group was based in Miami and was allegedly led by a former Chicagoan.
As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, that Chicago suspect was apparently trying to recruit help with his mission when he was busted.
The �Liberty City 7�, as they have been dubbed, face terrorism charges after government agents uncovered an alleged plot to blow up buildings, including the Sears Tower, the Miami Federal Courthouse, and the Miami FBI offices, as well as other structures.
The undercover video shows Narseal Batiste, and others taking, what prosecutors claim, is an oath to the al Qaeda terrorist organization, as well as conversations in which Batiste tells and FBI undercover agent his plans for blowing up buildings.
It was a classic FBI sting, with hidden cameras rolling in a hotel room. The key players are the government informant, whose face is obscured, and the alleged ringleader of the terrorist plot.
FBI surveillance photos show Batiste, the former Chicago FedEx delivery driver, allegedly checking out Miami�s federal courthouse as a possible target.
The videotape of the front and side doors of that courthouse was to be given to the man they thought represented al Qaeda, a man Batiste first met when he entered a Miami hotel room hoping to make his dream of Islamic jihad a reality.
�My name is Brother Mohammed ali Hussein,� the informant said on tape.
�Ali Hussein,� Batiste asked.
�Yes,� said the informant. �My job is to determine if its worth it or not. My job is to say if these people are serious or not."
Batiste tries to convince him that he and seven other members of his so-called Moorish Science Temple, their mosque housed in a rundown warehouse in Miami, are very serious.
�What's the plan?� asked the informant.
�To build this army,� Batiste replied.
�Army? To build an army?� the informant asked.
�An Islamic army for Islamic jihad,� Batiste said.
�Jihad? To wage jihad?� the informant said.
�Yes,� confirmed Batiste.
Eventually, the others are introduced to the informant. On the tape, one by one, each pledges his allegiance. In another taped meeting, Batiste asks for money for boots and uniforms and more.
�Hand pistol machine guns,� Batiste said.
�Pistols? Machine guns. Pistol or machine guns? Two different,� the informant said.
�They make them in hand pistols. They make pistol machine guns. They're like pistols but they're also machine guns,� Batiste said.
At another meeting, also taped by the government, Batiste got down to specifics.
"We got to make a plan of attack," Batiste said.
They talk about waging war with an army of street gang members and two specific targets.
�I'm gonna tell you there's two major buildings that you gotta blow up. The Empire State Building and � the uh, and the uh, Sears Tower. With those two buildings down, all radio communication is out," Batiste said.
The video has been the subject of reports by WFOR-TV reporter Brian Andrews, and its broadcast has apparently upset some of the attorneys involved in the case.
The material shown on television and on the Internet was provided by prosecutors as part of the discovery process, and is part of the public record of the case. It includes hundreds of hours of CDs and DVDs, which CBS 4 has been examining for the material which was broadcast.
A federal judge denied a request for a temporary injunction that would have prevented CBS 2 sister station WFOR-TV CBS 4 in Miami and their Web site, CBS4.com, from showing undercover surveillance video of seven men implicated in a terrorism scheme that involved a plot to blow up the Sears Tower.
Attorney Ana Jhones had filed the request with Federal Court Judge Joan Lenard at the U.S. Courthouse in Miami, asking that CBS, and any other media outlet, be prevented from showing the undercover video showing her client, Narseal Batiste, the alleged ringleader of what prosecutors claim was a terrorist cell based in Liberty City.
The request was denied following a teleconference between Jhones, the judge, and attorneys for CBS.
Jhones argued in her motion that the audio and video tapes have not yet been published in the court file and are not available to the general public. She asked that the media be prevented from showing the material "in all media" until it could be determined if a "local rule" was violated in the sharing of the material with WFOR.
WFOR-TV has reported that the material was legally obtained from a source involved with the case, but has not disclosed the source.