Adam Yehiye Gadahn, who appears frequently in Al-Qaeda propaganda videotapes, became the first person charged with treason in the War on Terrorism on Wednesday. He is also being charged with providing material support to terrorists.
United States authorities say that they don't know his whereabouts, although he's believed to be hiding out in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
If convicted of the charges, Gadahn would be eligible for the death penalty, a sentence seldom seen in US history. Historically no American has faced the death penalty for treason since World War II.
According to the indictment, which was handed down by a Los Angeles grand jury, the American Jihadist "knowingly adhered to an enemy of the United States, namely, Al-Qaeda, and gave Al-Qaeda aid and comfort, with [the] intent to betray the United States."
So far, the only evidence against him in the indictment consists of five videos in which he appears.
Gadahn converted to Islam from a Jewish-Christian family when he was 17 and a few years later moved to Pakistan. He was previously known as Adam Pearlman growing up on a ranch outside of Los Angeles.
The FBI's counterterrorism unit has hunted for the fugitive since 2002 and, following Wednesday's indictment, the FBI placed the man on their ten most wanted list. They are offering a one-million dollar reward for information leading to his capture.
Also known by the name Azzam al-Amriki (Azzam the American), Gadahn has gained worldwide recognition as a member of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. He appeared last month in an Al-Qaeda video along with that group's number two man, Ayman al Zawahri, calling for Americans to convert to Islam and for US troops to change sides.
There were a number of treason cases after World War II, including a case in 1952 in which the American woman, known as "Tokyo Rose," was convicted of treason and later pardoned. She died in September at her home in Chicago. None of those cases led to execution of the traitors.
During a segment on one videotape, Gadahn threatened that the streets of the United States would flow with American blood. In another, released around the fifth anniversary the 9-11 attacks, he praised the pilots who took control of the planes and smashed them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. He also referred to the United States as "enemy soil," according to the federal indictment.
Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told a news conference on Wednesday: "By making this choice, we believe Gadahn committed treason -- perhaps the most serious offense for which any person can be tried under our Constitution."
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.