Benjamin Alan Carpenter, also known as “Abu Hamza,” 31, was arrested on March 24, 2021, in Knoxville following the return of a federal grand jury indictment charging him with attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. A detention hearing was held today, April 5, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra C. Poplin. Carpenter remains detained pending the outcome of the detention hearing. Carpenter’s trial is set for June 1, 2021, before United States District Judge Katherine A. Crytzer.
Carpenter is a United States citizen who resides in Knoxville. According to documents filed with the Court, Carpenter is the leader of Ahlut-Tawhid Publications, an international organization dedicated to the translation and publication of pro-ISIS and official ISIS media in English. Carpenter was also in contact with an individual who he believed was associated with ISIS; however, unbeknownst to Carpenter, the individual was a covert FBI employee. Carpenter provided English-language translations of ISIS media content to that individual for use by ISIS.
The indictment and arrest were announced by John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice, Francis M. Hamilton III, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee; and Joseph E. Carrico, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Knoxville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was investigated by the Knoxville Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Clinton Police Department, and Knoxville Police Department.
If convicted, Carpenter faces up to 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the assigned judge. In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty; indictments merely contain allegations supported by probable cause.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey T. Arrowood of the Eastern District of Tennessee and Trial Attorneys George C. Kraehe and Felice John Viti of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his/her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.