Haris Qamar, 26, of Burke, Virginia, was sentenced today to 102 months in prison for attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Qamar was also sentenced to 20 years of supervised release to be completed after his released from prison.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Division made the announcement after the sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
Qamar pleaded guilty on Oct. 17, 2016. According to court documents, in May 2016, Qamar and an FBI Confidential Witness (CW) discussed ISIL’s need for photographs of possible targets in and around Washington, D.C., for use in a video that ISIL purportedly was making to encourage lone-wolf attacks in the Washington, D.C., area. Qamar offered the CW ideas of what to photograph, including the Pentagon and numerous landmarks in Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., which could be targeted for terrorist attacks. On June 3, 2016, a conversation was audio and video recorded when the CW picked up Qamar in a vehicle and drove to area landmarks on the list Qamar previously developed. Qamar said “bye bye DC, stupid ass kufar, kill’em all.” Qamar and the CW met again on June 10, 2016, and drove to a location in Arlington to take additional photographs for the purported ISIL video.
According to the statement of facts, during numerous conversations with the CW, Qamar expressed his interest and excitement in the extreme violence associated with ISIL. Qamar said he loved the bodies, blood, and beheadings. He recalled watching a video of a Kurdish individual being slaughtered and he liked the cracking sound made when the individual’s spinal cord was torn. On several occasions, Qamar said he could slaughter someone and described how he would do it. Qamar also stated he admired lone-wolf attackers because they love Islam so much that they are willing to die as martyrs for Islam. In the same conversation, Qamar and the CW also discussed suicide bombings. The CW said the CW did not believe in suicide bombings, but Qamar responded, “I believe in it 100 percent.”
According to the statement of facts, on Sept. 11, 2015, terrorists connected with ISIL posted a “kill list” to the internet containing the names and addresses of U.S. military members. A few days later, Qamar told CW that the residences of several service members who appeared on the “kill list” were near Qamar’s home, and Qamar observed undercover police cars near those residences. On Sept. 16, 2015, Qamar tweeted his prayer that Allah “give strength to the mujahideen to slaughter every single US military officer.”
Moreover, according to the statement of facts, on Sept. 25, 2015, Qamar told the CW that he tried to join ISIL in 2014, and purchased a plane ticket from Newark, New Jersey, to Istanbul, Turkey. Qamar, however, did not show up for the flight because his parents prevented him from doing so; Qamar’s parents took his passport. Qamar said his parents threatened to notify law enforcement and said he fought with his father and called his father a traitor to Islam. On Nov. 18, 2015, the CW asked Qamar if his father gave him back his passport, would Qamar travel overseas and join ISIL. In response, Qamar said if that happened, “I’m done, I leave.”
In a related matter, Soufian Amri, 32, of Falls Church, Virginia, and Michael Queen, 28, of Woodbridge, Virginia, acquaintances of Qamar, were arrested on Wednesday and charged with obstructing justice and conspiring to provide material false statements to law-enforcement officers who were investigating Qamar.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon D. Kromberg of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case with assistance from Trial Attorneys Justin Sher and Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.