Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz, 20, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to provide material support and resources to
the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist
organization, and transmitting a communication containing a threat to injure.
The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney
General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler
for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge Michael
Harpster of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. The plea was entered before Chief
U.S. District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner.
“Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz conspired to provide material support
to ISIL by aiding individuals in their pursuit of traveling overseas to join
the designated foreign terrorist organization and by using social media to
propagate ISIL’s threats to injure U.S. service members,” said Acting Assistant
Attorney General McCord. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is
counterterrorism, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to hold
accountable those who seek to provide material support to foreign terrorist
organizations and threaten members of our military.”
“The security of the American People is the highest priority
for our office and the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Brandler.
“While we cannot eliminate terrorism completely, we can bring to justice those
responsible for providing material support and resources to terrorist groups
and for spreading hate and destruction in our communities and abroad.
Thankfully, the defendant’s activities were disrupted by the FBI and the Joint
Terrorism Task Force and justice will be served in this case.”
"As evidenced here, ISIL loyalists need not travel to
the field of battle to threaten lives and do harm," said Special Agent in
Charge Harpster. "An American citizen provided material support to
terrorists from American soil, while enjoying all the rights and privileges
scorned by ISIL. We are gratified that Mr. Aziz is being brought to justice for
According to the filed court documents, on Dec. 22, 2015,
Aziz was charged in an indictment with conspiring and attempting to provide
material support to ISIL (Counts 1 and 2). A superseding indictment was
returned on May 18, 2016, which added Solicitation to Commit a crime of
violence (Count 3) and transmitting a communication containing a threat to
injure (Count 4).
According to the superseding indictment, from July 2014 to
Dec. 17, 2015, Aziz knowingly conspired to provide, provided and attempted to
provide material support, including personnel and services, to ISIL. The
superseding indictment also alleges that during the same time period, Aziz
solicited, commanded, induced and endeavored to persuade others to kill and
attempt to kill officers and employees of the United States. The superseding
indictment further alleges that he knowingly tweeted the names, addresses,
photographs and military branches of approximately 100 U.S. service members to
followers and viewers of his Twitter account. The communication also contained
threats to injure the service members, stating “kill them in their own lands,
behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their street
thinking that they are safe.”
Aziz pledged his allegiance to the leader of ISIL and used
at least 71 different Twitter accounts to advocate violence against the U.S.
and its citizens, to disseminate ISIL propaganda and to espouse pro-ISIL views.
On at least three occasions, Aziz allegedly used his Twitter accounts and other
electronic communication services to assist persons seeking to travel to and
fight for ISIL. In one instance, Aziz allegedly acted as an intermediary between
a person in Turkey and several well-known members of ISIL.
Aziz passed location information, including maps and a
telephone number, between these ISIL supporters. A search of a
tactical/military style backpack located in Aziz’s closet identified five
loaded M4-style high-capacity magazines, a modified straight edge knife, a
thumb drive, medication, flashlights, a toothbrush, sunflower seeds, a lighter,
nail clippers, fingerless gloves, a pocket watch and a black balaclava, which
is like a ski mask and similar to those worn by ISIL supporters.
The maximum penalty provided in the statute for Count 1,
Conspiracy to Provide Material Support and Resources to a Designated Foreign
Terrorist Organization, is 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a term of
supervised release of up to life and a $100 special assessment. The maximum
penalty for Count 4, Transmitting a Communication Containing a Threat to
Injure, is five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised
release of three years and a $100 special assessment.
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’s Joint Terrorism Task
Force (JTTF), which includes the Pentagon Force Protection Agency and the
Pennsylvania State Police, with assistance from the Harrisburg Bureau of
Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daryl F. Bloom and Trial Attorneys Robert
Sander and Adam L. Small of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism
Section prosecuted the case.