Eight years for ‘USB cufflink’ terrorist

Samata UllahImage copyright
Metropolitan Police

A man who used a James Bond-style USB cufflink to store extremist data has been jailed for eight years.

Samata Ullah, 34, of Cardiff, admitted to being a member of so-called Islamic State, terrorist training, preparing terrorist acts and possessing articles for terrorist purposes.

The court was told that Ullah was “a new and dangerous breed of terrorist” and a cyber-terrorist.

He was told he must also remain on licence for five years after release.

He was jailed at the Old Bailey after the court heard how he created a “one-stop shop” for terrorists from his bedroom, offering a range of guidance on how to stay one step ahead of police and security services.

Image copyright
Metropolitan Police

Image caption

Some of the USB cufflinks which were recovered

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC said Ullah was committed to the cause of the so-called Islamic State.

“He deployed his not inconsiderable self-taught computer skills to further the cause of terrorism and in particular Islamic State, which we say he not merely professed to belong to but in fact belonged in terms of membership and ideological affiliation, all he did from the relative safety of his bedroom in Cardiff, where he lived alone,” Mr Altman said.

Ullah, who has been diagnosed with autism, admitted five charges earlier in March but his pleas could not be reported until after the the prosecution had time to consider whether to go ahead with a trial of a charge of directing terrorism, which he denied.

The Attorney General accepted the pleas and the denial charge will lie on his file.

The court previously heard when he was arrested on 22 September, 2016, he had a USB cufflink with an operating system loaded onto it to conceal a hoard of extremist data, including a blog.

The court was told that between December 2015 and his arrest, Ullah had provided instructional videos on how to secure sensitive data and remain anonymous online with the use of encryption programmes.

He also admitted having a book entitled Guided Missiles Fundamentals AFM 52-31 and an electronic version of Advances in Missile Guidance, Control and Estimation for terrorist purposes.

The prosecution said a hi-tech report dealt with Ullah’s desire to copy his blog onto a platform in a “format that meant it could not be closed down or deleted by the authorities”.

British counter-terrorism police had tracked him down after being passed intelligence by the FBI who had been handed the information from authorities in Kenya, who had arrested another man.

Media captionUllah was working alone, says Dean Haydon, commander of counter terrorism at the Metropolitan Police

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit said: “It is the first time we have seen anything on this scale.

“He had set up a self-help library for terrorists around the world and they were using his library.

“There was guidance on encryption, ways to avoid detection from police and security services, expert tuition around missile systems and a vast amount of propaganda.

“He was self-taught. He has accessed it online himself and compiled a lot of material and put it into his own library. He has created a one-stop shop for terrorists.

“In my view he was a very dangerous individual although he was operating from his bedroom.”

Eight years for ‘USB cufflink’ terrorist