FBI terrorism informant from Minnesota: 'Go after the recruiters'

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Tony Osman

A Twin Cities man who served as a confidential terror informant for the FBI has been cut from the program after becoming frustrated with investigators.

Tony (Mohamed) Osman says he worked undercover for the FBI for about a year, between June 2014 and June 2015, and was paid $2,000 a month in cash.  He said he spied on his cousin and many of the young Minnesota men who are currently indicted on terror charges for providing material support to ISIS. 

Osman told the Fox 9 Investigators that officials should be going after the recruiters, not those who are being enlisted into the war on terror.  


According to Osman, he first approached the FBI two years ago with a detailed conspiracy theory involving the murder of his father in a staged car accident 30 years ago in New Jersey. But the FBI wasn't interested. He went back last June to show federal investigators elaborate timelines and charts showing how he was an accidental tourist in the world of global terrorism. 

When Osman was 9 years old and other kids were going to summer camp, his step-father took him to terror training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he says he crossed paths with some of the most notorious figures in terrorism including:

-Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: The mastermind of 9-11, now in Guantanamo

-Ali Mohamed: Wrote Al Qaeda’s terror training manual

-Ramzi Yousef: Convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing

-Tony's step-father, Khalid Ibrahim: An un-indicted co-conspirator in that case, and became an immigration sponsor for another key figure, a radical cleric, named the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman who spent a couple months living with Osman's family at their home in New Jersey.

"I heard him in my own ears issuing a Fatwa saying it's okay to bomb the World Trade Center, but not the U.N. building," Osman recalled the Blind Sheikh saying in his living room.

Osman admitted that the FBI laughed him out of the office, but he said two days later, after checking his family tree, they invited him back. 

One of the first things he did for agents, was identify a picture of his cousin, Amir Meshal, who is a cousin on both his mother and father's side. The two have known each other since they were children. The FBI captured Meshal eight years ago leaving an Al Qaeda training camp in Somalia. Meshal was held for 3 months in secret prisons before he was released.

Now living in Minnesota, Meshal's on the TSA “No-Fly List,” preventing him from using commercial aviation. According to a letter from U.S. Homeland Security, Meshal "represents a threat of conducting a violent act of terrorism" and is "operationally capable of doing so."

And yet, as the Fox 9 Investigators uncovered last May, Meshal was able to get his Class A Commercial Driver’s License, allowing him to operate semi-trucks and school buses. STORY- Minnesota terror suspect gets a Class A trucking license

"They started giving me assignments. Go pray in that mosque, go pray in this mosque, get that guy's number," Osman said.

Meshal introduced Osman to many of the young Minnesota men indicted on terror charges. His FBI handlers gave him a wire to record dozens of conversations. Osman even took a surveillance photo at a local mosque, showing three of the young men allegedly watching Jihadist videos on an i-Phone with Meshal (who is hidden from view in the photo). 

Pictured in the photo, Zacharia Abdurahman and Hanad Musse have pled guilty to terror charges.  Guled Omar goes on trial in May. 

As Osman was spying on the suspects, he was also recording his conversations with the FBI.  Federal agents won't confirm or deny that Osman was a paid informant.


Osman said he grew disillusioned when prosecutors kept indicting the young recruits, the pawns in the game as he saw it, instead of the men that he saw as the puppet masters, the people pulling the strings.

"There's a high level person and low level person, because they want to get as many convictions as possible, while leaving the high level radicalizers free so they can get as many convictions as possible," Osman said.

So in desperation, Osman talked to the Fox 9 Investigators, telling how his cousin Meshal was obsessed with Jihad.

"He didn't specifically say, ‘I'm going to do Jihad in the United States.’ What he told me [was] it was his right to do Jihad, wherever he is and if the enemies of Islam trap him in the enemy land, all options are open to him," he told Fox 9 last summer.

Meshal's attorney with the ACLU called the allegations rehashed, false, and stigmatizing -- "If it is true that Mr. Osman was a paid FBI informant, as he now claims, that only indicates he had a monetary motive for his behavior," ACLU attorney Hina Shamsi said.


Three months ago, Osman's home in Golden Valley, Minn. was raided by the Northwest Metro Drug Task Force. Officers, along with the bomb squad, also pulled him over while he was driving near Theodore Wirth Park.

"They were treating me like they were on the bin Laden Raid, or they just got El Chapo," Osman said. “First thing I saw was a uniformed officer who said, 'where are the explosives? Where are the explosives? Where are the explosives?"

Osman now smokes medical cannabis in liquid form through a vaporizer. He said he has an auto immune condition and the cannabis relieves nausea which he gets after eating. He admitted he did grow potent plants in his basement, at least 72 of them at one time.

Osman believes the raid was retaliation by the FBI. He said the agents knew he had a grow operation during that time he served as an informant because "they told me all we care about is extremism."

But according to police reports obtained by Fox 9, it was a carpet cleaner who had been in Osman's home to clean up a water leak who tipped off police to the marijuana grow operation.

The police reports also reveal the drug task force saw the story on Fox 9, and were concerned Osman's "cousin and step-father were terror suspects." Investigators were also troubled with the photograph of Osman as a boy "with the RPG launcher."  

The drug task force contacted the FBI who "confirmed the information Osman provided about himself appeared to be accurate." Osman said his FBI handlers showed up at the Golden Valley Police Department and told police "when he was working for us he was honest and trustworthy".

The task force then made Osman an offer to become an undercover drug informant. 

"I only know terror suspects, I don't know any drug dealers," said Osman. He refused to become an informant again, claiming all the marijuana plants he had in his basement were for personal use. 

He's now facing felony drug charges. Osman said he is out of money and next month his home will be auctioned off in a foreclosure.