US Man Who Fought with Syrian Rebels Wanted to Join Al Qaeda, Say Authorities

Andrew Blankstein and Pete Williams, NBC News, October 11, 2013

An Orange County man who had fought with Syrian rebels against the Assad regime was arrested Friday morning as he tried to leave the U.S. with a fake passport to fight for al Qaeda against U.S. soldiers overseas, said authorities.

Twenty-four-year-old Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen of Garden Grove, also known as Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum, was stopped at a bus station in Santa Ana, Calif. at 7:30 a.m. by members of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force and arrested on suspicion of providing material support to al Qaeda.

According to a grand jury indictment, Nguyen, a U.S. citizen, lied about his name, his date of birth, and his place of birth on a passport application in August, and also falsely answered no when asked if he’d ever applied for a passport previously.


According to law enforcement officials, Nguyen traveled to Syria last year to fight with rebels against the Assad regime. When he returned, he allegedly expressed a desire to go to Pakistan and join up with al Qaeda. He allegedly met someone he thought could help him, but that person turned out to be working undercover for the U.S.

Federal officials said Nguyen told the person helping him that he wanted to go overseas, fake his own death and get a new identity so he join al Qaeda and fight against U.S. soldiers. He allegedly gave the person photos, got a new fake passport, and was arrested when he tried to use that passport to leave the country.


At the courthouse, his mother, Hieu Nguyen, told The Associated Press that he had converted to Islam in the past year.

Last year, four Riverside County, Calif. men–Sohiel Omar Kabir, Arifeen David Gojali, Ralph Kenneth Deleon and Miguel Santana Vidriales–were charged by federal prosecutors in connection with a purported plot to join al Qaeda and the Taliban to carry out “violent jihad” against American soldiers and military bases in Afghanistan.


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  • Stentorian_Commentator

    That makes them bushwhackers in my book. Line them up against a wall and shoot them. Notice the English and Scots-Irish names of that crowd! (har, har)

  • Buck

    So when will Obama be arrested for providing material support to Al Qaeda?

  • Puggg

    That’s weird. A Vietnamese convert to Islam?

    They should have let them go. They wouldn’t have been our problem anymore.

  • Spartacus

    A vietnamese from California gets an arab name and tries to go to Pakistan to join a terrorist organization . Diversity, or in this case “Diversitry”, is turning out just like it was meant to…

  • A Vietnamese muzzie?

    Will Mr. Engelman please try to explain this?

    • Jefferson

      Muslims make up a very miniscule percentage of Vietnam’s population. Out of a population of over 90 million people, only 66 thousand are Muslim.

      There are some countries in Europe that have a significantly larger Muslim population than Vietnam.

    • JohnEngelman


    • Sick of it

      I grew up with some Vietnamese people and am pretty sure they would consider this guy nuts.

    • Chris Granzow XI

      In fairness to engelman, this guy was a southeast asian. They’re like the n-words of asia, whereas the east asians are smarter and less violent (for the most part).

  • bigone4u

    Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen should be tried for treason and be executed. Harsh? If he isn’t, then he’ll be out of prison in a few years ready to kill. These fanatics cannot be reformed. Either we kill them or they kill us.

    • Jesse James

      “Either we kill them or they kill US”. Therein lies the problem big what the hell does us mean anymore in open borders invite the world America? If everyone in the world is a potential or actual American our citizenship means nothing.

  • Kenner

    Terror or tantrum? Dry ice bomber ID’d as DiCarlo Bennett, a black employee of an airport service company…

    • Kenner

      [ at LAX ]

  • WR_the_realist

    A Vietnamese man in America becomes a Muslim and fights for Al Qaeda in Syria.

    Ain’t multiculturalism grand?

  • Not only that, if someone wrote this into a novel, the publishers would toss it out as garbage.

    “Only fiction has to make sense.”
    — Mark Twain

  • Carney3

    Thank you for recognizing the Saudi role in this.

    Please become a supporter of the proposed Open Fuel Standards Act, which would make alcohol fuel compatibility a required standard feature like seat belts in at least half of new cars from now on. Alcohol fuels include ethanol (made from sugary or starchy plant matter) and methanol (made from natural gas, coal, or ANY biomass including crop residues, weeds, trash, even sewage). They burn cleaner and have higher octane, and compatibility with them is cheap for automakers to include.