ISIS supporter gets 16 years for creating social media accounts for other ISIS supporters
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- Amer Alhaggagi Amer Alhaggagi is an Oakland man who pleaded guilty to trying...[+]
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An Islamic State supporter who was caught saying he wanted to “redefine terror” by bombing gay nightclubs was sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison for helping create social media accounts for people he believed also supported ISIS.
Amer Sinan Alhaggagi, 23, from Oakland, Calif., was sentenced for identity theft and attempting to support ISIS, the Department of Justice said in a Tuesday press release.
“Alhaggagi wanted to carry out deadly terrorist attacks in the United States in the name of ISIS,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said when Alhaggagi was sentenced to 188 months on Tuesday.
He pleaded guilty to charges in July 2018 and admitted that he knowingly attempted to provide support and personnel to ISIS. Federal prosecutors showed Alhaggagi describing online in 2016 how he wanted to commit a series of terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS in the U.S., where he said that if he succeeded, the “whole Bay Area [was] gonna be in flames.”
With his guilty plea, Alhaggagi admitted the he created Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail accounts for individuals he believed were people associated with ISIS.
He also admitted on the day of his arrest, Nov. 29, 2016, that he owned a device used to make counterfeit credit cards, and then used one of those cards, which had someone else’s name on it, to buy more than $1,000 worth of clothes.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ordered that Alhaggagi serve 10 years in supervised release after serving his 16 years.
In the case, Breyer had to consider if Alhaggagi actually meant what he said in the recording where he said he wanted to “redefine terror” by bombing gay nightclubs in the Oakland area.
“I want to make it to the point where every American here, like, thinks twice or three times before he leaves his home,” Alhaggagi said on hidden camera in July 2016 while with an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a former al Qaeda operative in Afghanistan. “That’s the goal … All the burning, the explosives, the poison, all of that adds up to some conclusion, you know?”
But Alhaggagi claimed he knew the agent wasn’t a real supporter of the terrorist organization after the agent failed to recognize the name of al Qaeda’s current leader and mistakenly praised majority-Shiite Iran.
In their sentencing memorandum, the defense said that Alhaggagi is a troll who takes pleasure in baiting and shocking people both online and in person, and never took any steps to carry out any of the plots.
“The exchanges are vile, but read in context they are hard to take seriously,” the defense’s sentencing memorandum states. “The texts featured emojis (smiley faces) and the argot of teenagers on the internet (“LOL” for laugh out loud, ‘LMAO’ for laughing my ass off) in response to claims of carnage and savagery.”
Source: Washington Examiner