War on Terrorism

Monday, July 24, 2017

Kansas Man Sentenced 30 Years in Plot to Explode Car Bomb at Fort Riley



John T. Booker Jr., 22, of Topeka, Kan., was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for attempting to detonate a vehicle bomb on the Fort Riley military base in Manhattan, Kan. On Feb. 3, 2016, Booker pleaded guilty to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempted destruction of government property by fire or explosion.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall of the District of Kansas and Special Agent in Charge Darrin E. Jones of the FBI’s sKansas City Division made the announcement.

“With this sentence, John Booker is being held accountable for his plan to kill U.S. military personnel on American soil in the name of ISIS,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is countering terrorist threats and protecting American lives by bringing to justice those who plot to attack us. I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who made this result possible.”

 “Violent extremism is a threat to America and all its people,” Acting U.S. Attorney Beall said. “Our goal is to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from inspiring, financing or carrying out acts of violence.”

“The investigation leading to today's sentencing illustrates the FBI's commitment to disrupting acts of terrorism,” said Special Agent in Charge Jones. “If Mr. Booker had been successful in detonating a car bomb, the results could have been dozens, if not hundreds, of casualties. The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain committed to protecting the citizens of the United States and thwarting acts of terrorism.”

In his guilty plea, Booker admitted he intended to kill American soldiers and to assist ISIS’s (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) fight against the U.S. His plan called for constructing a bomb containing 1,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate. Booker intended to trigger the bomb himself and die in the process, and filmed a video he intended Americans to see after his death.

“You sit in your homes and think this war is just over in Iraq,” Booker said in the video. “Today we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep.”

Unbeknownst to Booker, the bomb that he constructed was made with inert materials, and the two men working with him were undercover informants for the FBI.

The FBI began investigating Booker in March 2014 after he posted on his Facebook page that he wanted to commit jihad. Booker admitted that he tried to enlist in the U.S. Army in order to commit an insider attack against American soldiers like the one at Fort Hood in Texas, but his deadly plans were thwarted when he was denied entry into the Army. In October 2014, Booker began communicating with an undercover FBI informant. He told the undercover FBI informant that he dreamed of being a fighter in the Middle East, and proposed capturing and killing an American soldier.

In March 2015, Booker was introduced to another FBI informant who he believed would help him plan an attack. Booker said he wanted to detonate a suicide bomb because he couldn’t be captured, all the evidence would be destroyed, and he would be guaranteed to hit his target. On March 10, 2015, Booker made a video filmed at Freedom Park near Marshall Army Airfield at Fort Riley in which he pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. That month, he rented a storage unit in Topeka where the bomb would be assembled.

On April 10, 2015, Booker and the informants drove to an area near Fort Riley that Booker believed to be a little-used utility gate where they could enter Fort Riley undetected. He was arrested when he made the final connections on the device that he believed would arm the bomb.

Mr. Boente and Mr. Beall commended the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for their investigation of this case. They also thanked Assistant Trial Attorneys Josh Parecki and Rebecca Magnone of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Mattivi of the District of Kansas, who prosecuted this case.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hawaii Soldier Indicted for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS



An indictment was returned July 21 charging Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, an Army sergeant first class stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Kang was previously arrested on July 8, and ordered detained pending further proceedings.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, Acting U.S. Attorney Elliot Enoki of the District of Hawaii and Special Agent in Charge Paul Delacorte of the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office made the announcement.

The grand jury indictment, which was filed on July 19, charged Kang with four counts of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, based on events that occurred in Hawaii between June 21 and July 8. The indictment and an earlier criminal complaint allege that Kang met with undercover agents of the FBI whom he believed to be affiliated with ISIS and provided military information, some of which was classified at the SECRET level. Kang is also charged with providing property (a drone,s military clothing and equipment) and training (instruction on combat techniques and weapons training which was videotaped for future use by ISIS) to undercover agents whom he believed to be affiliated with ISIS.

Kang will appear in court on July 24, for an arraignment and plea on the charges, at which time a trial date will be scheduled.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted of the charges, Kang faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each count. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Taryn Meeks of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ken Sorenson and Marc Wallenstein.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Alleged ISIS Supporter Indicted for Attempting to Provide Material Support to Foreign Terrorist Organization



Amer Sinan Alhaggagi, 22, of Oakland, California, was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in San Francisco with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch of the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.

According to the indictment, Alhaggagi, 22, of Oakland, California, is alleged to have knowingly attempted to provide services and personnel to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), between July and November of 2016, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B. ISIS is a designated foreign terrorist organization. The indictment alleges that the services Alhaggagi attempted to provide included opening social media accounts for the use, benefit and promotion of ISIS, and that the personnel he provided was himself.

The indictment also alleges three counts of identity theft offenses – two counts of identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A. With respect to those charges, an affidavit previously filed by an agent of the FBI in connection with a criminal complaint in the same matter alleged that Alhaggagi had used a stolen credit card to make $4,932 in fraudulent online purchases from a clothing company.

The FBI arrested Alhaggagi, a U.S. citizen, on Nov. 29, 2016, based on a criminal complaint charging identity theft. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore ordered Alhaggagi detained following his arrest based on findings that he presented a flight risk and a danger to the community. The complaint and the previous proceedings against Alhaggagi were unsealed yesterday when the indictment was returned.

Alhaggagi’s arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum total sentence of 47 years on all four counts in the indictment, and a fine of $250,000 for each count. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI, the Special Prosecutions and National Security Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the Oakland Police Department and the Berkeley Police Department.