MANHATTAN (CN) – An Afghani woman with degrees from MIT and Brandeis has been charged with assaulting and attempting to murder U.S. officials. Afghani officials arrested Aafia Siddiqi in Ghazni on July 17, allegedly with a list of terrorist targets. The next day, while awaiting an interview with FBI and Army interrogators, she allegedly got ahold of an Army officer’s M-4 rifle and shot it at the U.S. officials.
In a press release that raises as many questions as it answers, the District Attorney’s Office here wrote: “The interview of Siddiqi was to take place at an Afghan police compound in Ghazni. In a second-floor meeting room at the compound – where Siddiqi was being held, unbeknownst to the United States interview team, unsecured, behind a curtain – Siddiqi obtained one of the United States Army officer’s M-4 rifle and attempted to fire it, and did fire it, at another United States Army officer and other members of the United States interview team. Siddiqi repeatedly stated her intent and desire to kill Americans.”
Afghani officials had arrested her on July 17, allegedly with “a number of items in her possession, including handwritten notes that referred to a ‘mass casualty attack’ and that listed various locations in the United States, including Plum Island, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge,” according to the District Attorney’s press release. She also allegedly had notes referring to “dirty bombs,” and “various way to attack ‘enemies,’ including by destroying reconnaissance drones, using underwater bombs, and using gliders. Siddiqi also possessed a computer thumb drive that contained correspondence referring to specific ‘cells,’ ‘attacks’ by certain ‘cells,’ and ‘enemies,'” the District Attorney’s Office said.
Siddiqi, 36, lived in the United States from around 1991 until June 2002, and earned degrees from MIT and Brandeis. She returned to the United States on Dec. 25, 2002 and left on Jan. 2, 2003, prosecutors said.
She will be arraigned at 11:30 a.m. Thursday on seven federal counts, including attempting to kill U.S. nationals outside the United States, attempting to kill U.S. officers and employees, armed assault, using a firearm during a crime of violence, and three counts of assault. She faces up to life in prison.