Narseal Batiste says he was just playing along, and that the FBI informant cajoled him into pretending to be a jihadist. “Fla. Terror Suspect: Jihad Talk Was Fake,” by Curt Anderson for Associated Press (thanks to Twostellas):
MIAMI (AP) – A man accused of leading a terrorist cell testified Wednesday that he was putting on an act to get money when he spoke approvingly of Islamic extremism and was never serious about plotting violent attacks.
Narseal Batiste told jurors at his trial that comments he made on FBI videotapes about violent Islamic jihad and a “full ground war” against the U.S. government were part of the show that a convenience store operator named Abbas al Saidi was urging him to stage.
Al Saidi bragged of family terrorist connections in his native Yemen but was actually an FBI informant. At meetings in 2005, Batiste said al Saidi promised him $10,000 and access to much more if Batiste would play the extremist role for a purported al-Qaida emissary who would soon arrive.
“I wanted the money and support,” Batiste said. “That’s the only reason I was there.”
That emissary, known to Batiste and his men as “Brother Mohammed,” was also an FBI informant named Elie Assad who previously said he was acting out a part as well.
“I understood that if I didn’t play the role Abbas was asking me to play, I wouldn’t get the money I was looking for,” Batiste testified under questioning by his attorney, Ana M. Jhones.