Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, formerly of Staten Island, has been arrested for lying about his failed attempt to join the Taliban "or a similar fighting group." According to prosecutors, Shehadeh traveled to Pakistan as a teenager in 2008 in an attempt to join the Taliban, but was turned away by Pakistani officials and forced to return to the states. He told FBI officials he traveled to Pakistan to attend a friend's wedding and to visit a university, and then lied about ever going to Pakistan when he attempted to enlist in the U.S. Army at the Times Square recruiting station. Janice Fedarcyk, head of New York's FBI office, said in a statement, "The real purpose, it is alleged, was not to join U.S. forces, but to wage war against them. Stopping one prospective terrorist can prevent untold numbers of casualties."

Shehadeh, now 21 and a resident of Hawaii, was arrested in Honolulu and charged with making false statements in a matter involving international terrorism. The complaint against him alleges that he later confessed to the FBI in Hawaii that he traveled to Pakistan with the intent of joining a terrorist group. It also alleges that he "created and administered multiple web sites dedicated to spreading violent jihadist ideology." United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said, “As this case demonstrates, we and our partners in law enforcement are committed to preventing terrorist acts before the plots can be set in motion. We will spare no effort, and will deploy all available resources, to accomplish this mission.”

Shehadeh's family and friends seemed to have no idea of his allegedly nefarious plans. His former landlord, Bader Suleiman, told the Daily News, "He's just a regular kid," and until the case had believe Shehadeh had been studying history in Hawaii. . One cousin told NY1, "I knew him my whole life. I never heard anything about that. I knew FBI guys would come watch him and stuff, but I don't know. That's crazy."