Feds argue against release of arson, al-Qaidi wannabe suspect in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS—The Minneapolis woman accused of planning to join al-Qaida in Afghanistan and setting a series of fires at St. Catherine University in St. Paul had schematics of campus buildings on her mobile phone, along with a list identifying "worrisome" items, such as "pressure cooker" and "nails," according new court filings by federal prosecutors.
Tnuza Hassan, 19, is in custody while she awaits trial on federal charges of arson, making false statements to the FBI and attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. In response to a request by Hassan's attorneys that she be released to the custody of her mother in Brooklyn Park, prosecutors on Wednesday submitted a filing that outlined new findings in the investigation into the January fires at St. Kate's, which were extinguished before they caused any injuries.
FBI agents searching Hassan's phone in February allegedly discovered blueprints of the St. Kate's student center and St. Mary's Hall, the residential dormitory where the most serious fire occurred.
Investigators also found terrorist propaganda and a list that contained five "worrisome phrases," including backpack, pressure cooker, metal shards, nails and cellphone, according to court documents. Prosecutors wrote that the list was created six days before Hassan allegedly started the fires at St. Kate's.
In arguing that Hassan should remain in federal custody, prosecutors also outlined statements she made about what she would do if she were released but not allowed to leave the United States.
"Then I have the right to do jihad," Hassan told investigators, according to court documents.
They also pointed to a statement she allegedly made to police when she was arrested in January.
"You guys are lucky that l don't know how to build a bomb because l would have done that," Hassan said, according to earlier charges filed in Ramsey County.
"The community remains lucky the defendant did not know how to build a bomb," federal prosecutors wrote at the end of their filing. "There is no good reason to see if this luck will hold by releasing this dangerous defendant."