Mesquite man accused in terror investigation denied release

A Mesquite man will remain in federal custody after being charged with lying to the FBI in a terrorism investigation.

During a detention hearing on Friday, a judge looked at some of the evidence the federal government has collected in its case against Iraqi-born U.S. citizen Bilan Abood.

The FBI said he lied to agents about his plans to travel to Syria to fight the regime there. Then, he returned to this country and pledged to fight for the terrorist group ISIS.

The evidence presented in court included pro-ISIS images and videos taken from Abood's computer, statements from a witness who said Abood called the United States an enemy of God and the results of a polygraph test he failed after asking the FBI to take him off the no fly list in 2014.

The judge decided he was both a flight risk and a threat from his apartment with his laptop, so he was denied release.

Abood's girlfriend, Barbara Strebeck , claims he is the victim of FBI retaliation.

"I think it's BS. I think it's a bunch of craziness because the fact that he didn't lie to no one. He told the truth," Strebeck said. "Because he would not spy for them, they're doing this on purpose."

Abood worked as an interpreter for the U.S. and was offered citizenship as a benefit of his work.

On his laptop seized a year ago, the FBI says it found suspicious terrorist-linked evidence. But Strebeck says there's an explanation for the graphic photographs of ISIS beheadings and other violent murders.

"I've seen him, like when he'd be on YouTube, he would go, ‘Come here. Look at this. Look what they're doing,'" said Strebeck. "He would show me this."

When it comes to cell phone video of hundreds, if not thousands, of men shouting chants of support for ISIS, Strebeck said, "That I don't know…I've seen the flags and stuff like that, but I've seen it even on TV, on the news."

There's also a song in Arabic that the government said was a song of support to mothers of men killed fighting violent jihad that Abood allegedly forwarded to others.

"From my knowledge, I don't know for sure," said Strebeck.

The FBI said it believes Abood acted alone. Agents do not expect to make any other arrests.

"You can't just look at him and think just because he's Muslim, he's a terrorist," said Strebeck's daughter, Katrina Stephens. "Not all Muslims are terrorists."

They support the investigation and the truth that they believe they already know.

"I'm for it, yeah," said Strebeck. "Please, check him out. He was even saying he don't care if you check me out because he's trying to prove his innocence."


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