I-Team: Who is Daniel Boyd?

Daniel Boyd

February 4, 2010 5:15:08 PM PST
Last July, the FBI arrested 39-year-old Daniel Boyd on charges he was plotting to attack the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia and was recruiting young men to engage in violent jihad in foreign countries.

Inside Boyd's Johnston County house, agents say they found a stash of weapons, 27,000 rounds of ammunition, and a pit under a deck that agents say was designed to hide the weapons.

But the arrest shocked neighbors in the quiet Willow Spring neighborhood where he lived. They said he did construction work, was neighborly, and they couldn't believe he was a terrorist.

So the I-Team turned to journalist Peter Laufer to try and unlock the mystery of Daniel Boyd. He interviewed Boyd in 1992 for a book called 'Nightmare Abroad.'

"My impressions of this guy, I suppose, are a conflicted fellow who was finding perhaps an adventure and also seeking some kind of direction for his life," he told ABC11 I-Team Investigator Steve Daniels.

Laufer interviewed Boyd in a Washington law office right after he was released from a Pakistani prison.

"Bravado would be the word I would think of, animated. He pranced around the office telling stories in an animated manner," said Laufer.

In Pakistan, Boyd was convicted for robbing a bank and sentenced to having his hands and feet cut off. The Pakistani supreme court later commuted the sentence. Laufer remembers Boyd's behavior was bizarre.

"He did not strike me as a strategic thinker," he said. "I felt a certain amount of naivety was combined with daring do - which is not uncommon for good old boys in America. You can find those types who are rough and tumble and perhaps not so sophisticated."

But what was odd to Laufer was the contrast of someone who spoke like a good-old-boy from Virginia, "and then at the same time peppering his speech with the Inshallah phrase, 'If God wills it.'"

Federal agents say on a recent audiotape you can hear Boyd articulate his violent beliefs.

"Allah knows, I love Jihad. I love to stand there and fight for the sake of Allah," investigators say Boyd is heard to say.

And according to the federal indictment:

"From 1989 through 1992, Boyd traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan where he received military style training in terrorist training camps for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad."

"What the indictment says seems quite consistent with - in terms of the personality - with the fellow that I talked with and what he acknowledged doing in Pakistan," said Laufer.

Laufer points out Boyd is innocent until proven guilty - but he says if Boyd was plotting attacks, he could have gone undetected.

"Certainly the idea that this is someone who can operate in this country, invisibly he wished to is likely because he's homegrown - completely - he talks the way you and I talk," he said.

Since Boyd and his family have not done any interviews, and federal agents aren't talking, Peter Laufer is one of the few who can shed light on Daniel Boyd.

"Dangerous? He's certainly not the guy I would want next to me if I had to trust somebody because his antics don't make sense to me and that's enough to spell a certain amount of danger," said Laufer.

We tried contacting Boyd's wife for comment. We couldn't reach her, but previously she said in a statement:

"Indictments always seem factual in their appearance. But, to rush to judgment is not a part of the process and we kindly ask for the right to defend the charges."

Boyd is schedule to go on trial in Raleigh in September

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