Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Afghanistan Retrograde Nearly One-Quarter Complete

 May 25, 2021 | BY C. Todd Lopez , DOD News

The U.S. plans to be completely out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021. U.S. Central Command announced today they estimate the withdrawal is now somewhere between 16% and 25% complete.

A military aircraft taxis on an airfield.  A man uses a light to direct the aircraft.

Already, the command says, approximately 160 C-17 loads of materiel and equipment have left Afghanistan. Additionally, more than 10,000 pieces of military equipment have been turned over to the Defense Logistics Agency.

U.S.-controlled installations in Afghanistan must also be returned to the Afghan Defense Ministry, and so far, five installations have been handed back.

After 20 years, the U.S. is leaving Afghanistan because the mission there is complete, said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby during a press briefing today at the Pentagon.

"The president has been very clear that our troops accomplished the mission for which they were sent to Afghanistan," Kirby said. "That was to prevent the country from being used as a safe haven for terrorist attacks on our homeland, and there hasn't been another attack on the homeland emanating from Afghanistan since 9/11. So the president believes the mission has been completed."

A man in a military uniform adjusts straps that are wrapped around a tarp-covered load on a truck.  Another man in a military uniform stands on the bed of the truck.

Now, Kirby said, there is a new mission: withdrawal from Afghanistan and development of a new relationship with the government of Afghanistan and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

The United States will create a "new bilateral relationship with Afghanistan across the government: diplomatically, economically, politically and certainly from a security perspective," Kirby said. "Our relationship with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces will continue, but it will continue in a different way."

The U.S. is not leaving the Centcom region outright, however. There are still threats in the region, and Kirby said the U.S. will be ready to meet those threats by strengthening existing "over-the-horizon" capabilities there and growing new ones.

Two trucks move across a dusty field.

Kirby said the U.S. already has some over-the-horizon capacity in the region, by virtue of forces already stationed there and long-range capabilities that are outside the region.

"We know we need to think through this more deliberately and more thoughtfully going forward as we get closer to completing the withdrawal, and we're working on that," he said.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Brooklyn Man Arrested for Arson of Yeshiva and Synagogue

 A criminal complaint has been filed in federal court in Brooklyn charging Ali Alaheri with setting fire to a yeshiva and synagogue in Brooklyn on May 19, 2021.  Alaheri was arrested in Dobbs Ferry, New York, yesterday and will make his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon. 

Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; John B. DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Dermot Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD); and Daniel A. Nigro, Commissioner, New York City Fire Department (FDNY), announced the arrest and charge.

“As alleged in the complaint and detention letter, Alaheri deliberately set fire to the sacred home of a yeshiva and synagogue, and viciously attacked a man wearing traditional Hasidic garb, demonstrating a violent hatred that cannot be tolerated,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Lesko.  “This Office strongly condemns these sorts of intentional acts of violence and we will go to every length possible to prosecute this type of conduct to the fullest extent possible.”  Mr. Lesko praised the special agents, detectives and fire marshals of the Strategic Explosive and Arson Response Task Force for their outstanding investigative work on the case.

“The defendant’s alleged actions endangered the lives of numerous individuals, from the congregants and students at the synagogue and yeshiva, to the first responders who arrived to extinguish the flames, to the neighboring members of the community,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge DeVito.  “The members of ATF’s Arson and Explosives Task Force, in partnership with NYPD’s Hate Crime Unit, worked diligently to quickly identify the defendant and bring him to justice.   I thank them for their efforts, as well as those of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in sending a clear message that crimes such as this will not be tolerated.”

“Ali Alaheri, as alleged in today’s federal complaint, set fire to a school and religious institution and threatened public safety for all. I commend our NYPD investigators, our government partners and the prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for their work in bringing swift justice in this case,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.

“Arson is a callous and senseless crime that endangers the lives of innocent residents and our firefighters who bravely respond to protect life and property,” stated FDNY Commissioner Nigro. “I commend our Fire Marshals and their partners in law enforcement for their outstanding efforts to investigate this incident and apprehend the suspect.”

As set forth in the complaint and detention letter, in the pre-dawn hours of May 19, 2021, Alaheri was captured on surveillance video piling garbage bags against the side of a building on 36th Street in Brooklyn that housed a yeshiva (a Jewish school) and a synagogue.  Alaheri was recorded igniting the garbage bags.  Firefighters responded to a fire alarm at the location and extinguished the blaze.  Several hours later, Alaheri was again captured on surveillance video, this time repeatedly punching a man wearing traditional Hasidic garb.  There was no interaction between Alaheri and the victim prior to the assault.  When Alaheri was arrested on May 21, 2021, he appeared to be wearing the same clothing he was wearing in the video footage of the assault.

The charge in the complaint is an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, Alaheri faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Section.  Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Shanies is in charge of the prosecution. 

The Defendant:

Age:  29
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-MJ-624

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to ISIS and Attempting to Commit an Attack at a Toledo-Area Synagogue

 Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced that Damon M. Joseph, aka Abdullah Ali Yusuf, 23, of Holland, Ohio, pleaded guilty today to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, aka ISIS, and attempting to commit a hate crime, for planning an attack on a synagogue in the Toledo, Ohio area.

“Damon Joseph was inspired by ISIS’ call to violence and hate," said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.  "He planned to target innocents at a Toledo-area synagogue based on their religion and hoping that it would lead to the deaths of many and spread fear.  His actions would have been an assault on the liberties and respect for humanity we hold so dear.  We will continue to make every effort to prevent such attacks from occurring.  I commend the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who identified the threat posed by this defendant and took action to protect the public from his plans.”

“The defendant’s attempt to cause significant harm to members of the Toledo, Ohio, Jewish community constitutes both a federal hate crime and an act of domestic terrorism,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute individuals who use violence to attack our religious communities.”

“This investigation highlights the continued threat of violence to our communities posed by ISIS-inspired terrorists – in this case, at a place of worship. With today’s plea, we will be one step closer to seeing justice served,” said Acting Assistant Director Patrick Reddan, Jr. of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.  “I’m grateful for our partnerships with faith-based communities and with our law enforcement partners on the JTTF for their work on this case, which ultimately prevented this plot from becoming a tragedy.”

“Today, Damon Joseph pleaded guilty for attempting to support ISIS through violent attacks on Jewish congregants while they worshipped,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan for the Northern District of Ohio.  “It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous plot, let alone reconcile that this plot involved violating our country's solemn obligation to protect the civil rights of every person as a means of supporting a foreign terrorist organization.  We will continue to root out and bring to justice those who support terrorists and those who seek to violate the civil rights of our families, friends and neighbors.”

“In a matter of months, Damon Joseph progressed from a self-radicalized, virtual jihadist to planning an actual attack on fellow Americans,” said Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office.  “Mr. Joseph has now accepted responsibility for his actions.   In the name of ISIS, Joseph planned a mass-casualty attack against citizens simply wanting to attend their desired houses of worship, which were two Toledo-area synagogues.  Joseph's terroristic actions are antithetical to a just and free society, and he will serve a lengthy sentence as a result. The FBI would like to remind the public to remain vigilant so we can continue to thwart these types of threats together."

In 2018, Joseph drew the attention of law enforcement by posting photographs of weapons and various messages in support of ISIS on his social media accounts, as well as a photograph originally distributed by the media wing of ISIS.

Beginning in September 2018, Joseph engaged in a series of online conversations with several undercover FBI agents where he repeatedly stated and affirmed his support for ISIS and produced propaganda he believed was to be used for ISIS recruitment efforts.

Over the next few weeks, Joseph stated to an undercover agent that he wanted to participate in an attack on behalf of ISIS. On Dec. 2, 2018, Joseph forwarded a document to the agent that laid out his plans for such an attack on “Jews who support state of Israel.”  Joseph then stated that he did not necessarily see this as “a martyrdom operation” as his plan accounted for an escape and potential combat with law enforcement.

On Dec. 4, Joseph met with an undercover FBI agent and discussed conducting a mass shooting at a synagogue.  Joseph identified two synagogues in the greater Toledo as potential targets and discussed the types of weapons he believed would inflict mass casualties.  Joseph made written notes about the firearms he wanted and provided them to the undercover agent, stating he wanted AR 15s, AK 47, Glock handguns, and ammunition.

On Dec. 6, Joseph again met with an undercover agent to discuss his plans. Joseph stated specifically that he wanted to kill a rabbi and wrote the name and address of the synagogue where the attack was to occur and stated that he had conducted research to determine when the Jewish sabbath was so that more people would be present.

Later that day, the undercover agent told Joseph that he had purchased rifles for the attack.  The two met on Dec. 7 at a predetermined location, where Joseph took possession of a black duffel bag containing two semi-automatic rifles, which had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement officers so that they posed no danger to the public.  Joseph was then arrested.

Joseph is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, comprised of over 50 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Baeppler and Jerome Teresinski of the Northern District of Ohio and Trial Attorneys Alexandra Hughes and Joshua Champagne of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, as well as AeJean Cha of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.

Friday, May 14, 2021

DHS Issues a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin

 WASHINGTON Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin after consultation with the Intelligence Community and law enforcement partners. The NTAS Bulletin advises that the United States is facing threats that have evolved significantly and become increasingly complex and volatile.  Specifically, the Bulletin details the threats posed by domestic terrorists, individuals, and groups engaged in grievance-based violence, and those inspired or influenced by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences. 

Social media and online forums are increasingly exploited by these actors to influence and spread violent extremist narratives and activity.  Such threats also are exacerbated by the impacts from the ongoing global pandemic.  Today’s Bulletin builds on an earlier Bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in January, and provides more information on the currently heightened threat environment and how Americans can seek help.

“Today’s terrorism-related threat landscape is more complex, more dynamic, and more diversified than it was several years ago. We know that providing timely and useful information to the public is critical as we all work together to secure the homeland.  With the issuance of today’s NTAS Bulletin, we are advising the public to be vigilant about ongoing threats to the United States, including those posed by domestic terrorism, grievance-based violence, and those inspired or influenced by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “In this evolving threat environment, DHS is redoubling our efforts to detect and disrupt all forms of foreign and domestic terrorism and targeted violence, while safeguarding privacy protections, civil rights, and civil liberties.”

DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will continue to provide guidance to state, local, tribal, and territorial partners about the current threat environment. DHS is collaborating with industry partners to identify and respond to the radicalization that results from the spread of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and false narratives on social media and other online platforms. DHS does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot; however, DHS asks all Americans to report any suspicious activity and threats of violence to local law enforcement, FBI Field Offices, or a local Fusion Center.

Since January 20, 2021, DHS has increased the development, production, and sharing of intelligence and other actionable information central to countering domestic terrorism, which now poses the most significant and immediate terrorism-related threat to the United States.  DHS has established a new, dedicated domestic terrorism branch within the Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). Further, DHS is increasing training opportunities for law enforcement partners, including through threat assessment and management programs related to domestic violent extremism.

In February, Secretary Mayorkas designated combating domestic violent extremism as a National Priority Area for the first time in FEMA grant programs. As a result, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments are required to spend at least 7.5 percent, or a minimum of $77 million, of their DHS grant awards toward combating this threat. 

The Department is committed to building trust, partnerships, and collaboration across government, civil society, and communities to combat all forms of targeted violence and terrorism.

For additional information, view the entire NTAS Bulletin.

Guantanamo Periodic Review Board Media Invitation Announced

 May 14, 2021

The Department of Defense will allocate seats for news media at the Pentagon satellite viewing location on May 18, to cover unclassified portions of the Guantanamo Periodic Review Board for Mohamed Mani Ahmad al Kahtani   (ISN - 063).

Due to limited space availability, selection is not guaranteed. Upon selection, additional information on meeting time and location will be provided.

Media desiring to observe the hearing should send requests via email to osd.pentagon.pa.mbx.gtmo-press@mail.mil.

All requests must be received no later than 9 a.m. ET May 17. Media members should include their name, position, sponsoring organization and contact information (cell phone and email address) in their request. Multiple names from the same organization may be submitted.

Further information, including media ground rules, can be viewed at the Periodic Review Secretariat website at https://www.prs.mil/.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS

 Defendant Disseminated ISIS Propaganda and Bomb-Making Instructions in an Effort to Incite Acts of Terrorism and Violence in New York City and Elsewhere

WASHINGTON – A New York man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, aka ISIS.

Zachary Clark, aka Umar Kabir, Umar Shishani and Abu Talha, 42, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty in August 2020 to one count of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely, ISIS.

“Today’s 20-year sentence recognizes the gravity of Clark’s conduct, including his calls for other ISIS supporters to carry out lone wolf terrorist attacks in New York City,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Having pledged allegiance to ISIS, Clark provided others with specific instructions on knifing and bomb-making for use in such attacks. We remain vigilant to the threat of terrorism and committed to identifying and holding accountable those who threaten our communities through their support for foreign terrorist organizations.”

“Zachary Clark pledged allegiance to ISIS and posted calls for attacks on the public and institutions in New York City on encrypted pro-ISIS chatrooms, along with detailed instructions for carrying out those violent acts,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “Thanks to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Clark’s efforts to incite deadly violence on behalf of ISIS have been silenced. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that those who seek to further ISIS’s campaign of terror and violence, no matter the method, will face serious consequences.”

“The FBI remains steadfast in the fight against terrorism," said Acting Assistant Director Patrick Reddan for the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “I would like to thank the men and women of the FBI, along with our partners in law enforcement, for holding accountable individuals, such as Zachary Clark, who pledge allegiance to ISIS and support and spread their violent terrorist agenda. We remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorism and protect the American people, and today’s sentencing underscores that commitment.”

According to court documents, Clark pledged allegiance to ISIS twice: first in July 2019 to ISIS’s then-leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and then in October 2019 to ISIS’s new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Sashemi al-Qurayshi, whom ISIS promoted after al-Baghdadi’s death. Beginning in at least March 2019, Clark disseminated ISIS propaganda through, among other avenues, encrypted chatrooms intended for members, associates, supporters and potential recruits of ISIS. Clark’s propaganda included, among other things, calls for ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks in New York City.

For example, on Aug. 3, 2019, Clark posted instructions about how to conduct such an attack, including directions on how to select an attack target, how to conduct preoperational surveillance, how to conduct operational planning and how to avoid attracting law enforcement attention when preparing for and conducting the attack. On another occasion, Clark posted a manual entitled “Knife Attacks,” which stated, among other things, that discomfort at “the thought of plunging a sharp object into another person’s flesh” is “never an excuse for abandoning jihad” and that “[k]nives, though certainly not the only weapon for inflicting harm upon the kuffar [non-believers], are widely available in every land and thus readily accessible.” 

Clark urged the participants in encrypted chatrooms to attack specific targets, posting maps and images of the New York City subway system and encouraging ISIS supporters to attack those locations.  Clark’s guidance also included posting a manual entitled “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom,” which was issued by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and included detailed instructions about constructing bombs using readily available materials. 

The FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD and over 50 other federal, state and local agencies, investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gillian Grossman, Matthew Hellman and Sidhardha Kamaraju of the Southern District of New York prosecuted the case with assistance from Trial Attorneys Jason Denney and Chad Davis of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

DOD Experts Say There's More Work to be Done to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction

 May 5, 2021 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News

A critical mission of the Defense Department is to dissuade, deter and defeat actors who threaten to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and its interests, four WMD experts told a House Armed Services Committee panel.

A Defense Threat Reduction Agency weapons of mass destruction crime scene operations course is shown.

Testifying before the HASC's subcommittee on intelligence and special operations were: Jennifer C. Walsh, who is performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for policy; Brandi C. Vann, acting assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs; Navy Vice Adm. Timothy G. Szymanski, deputy commander of U.S. Special Operations Command; and Rhys M. Williams, acting director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The hearing addressed DOD's fiscal year 2022 budget request for counter-WMD, or CWMD, strategies, policies, priorities, programs and state of readiness.

"[DOD] continues to improve its ability to dissuade, deter and defeat these threats while maintaining the ability to respond to and mitigate the effects of WMD use," Walsh emphasized. "We are taking action to meet WMD challenges, and, as the nature of WMD threats is evolving, we know we have more work to do."

DOD has three lines of effort to organize its WMD work to counter such threats: prevent acquisition, contain and reduce threats, and respond to crises, she added.

"As the department increases its focus on competition among great powers, developing the capabilities necessary for us to fight and win in a cyber-contested environment in those theaters becomes critical," Walsh said.

"As administration officials direct and develop new national and departmental strategy reviews and guidance documents, DOD's CWMD stakeholders will be focused on addressing the dynamic CWMD threat and ensuring that it gets space in [strategy reviews and guidance documents], including posturing the department to mitigate biological threats more effectively and improving readiness for … challenges in Europe and Asia," she said.

Soldiers board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

Vann said the Nuclear Chemical and Biological Defense office, including the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, is responsible for ensuring the department maintains the capability and readiness to counter WMD across the threat landscape. She also said NCD is aligning to meet the direction given by the president's interim national security, strategic guidance, and the secretary's priorities. "Our efforts will enable us to close today's gaps rapidly, mitigate vulnerabilities, anticipate emerging threats, and strengthen our domestic and international partnerships," she said.

But the pace of technology continues to move faster and faster, Vann pointed out.

"As a result, the players on the world stage are shifting; the conflict landscape is changing and so are the hazards that we all face — making our jobs ever more complex," she told subcommittee members. "Overcoming these changes and the emergence and reemergence of unique [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] threats requires the department to first understand the emerging threats landscape and then develop adaptive capabilities to respond to these threats as they arise. In doing so, we can ensure that the joint force can fight and win in CBRN-contested environments, prepare for surprises from emerging threats, and reduce the risks that they pose."

Vann discussed modernizing the force, and she said fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, additive manufacturing and rapid medical countermeasure development provide an opportunity to adapt DOD's defense capabilities quickly and effectively. "We should embrace the technological revolution within the private sector and lead game-changing technology advancements to ensure our warfighters are best prepared for the future threat," she added.

"We will continue to remain behind the warfighter and ahead of the threat to ensure joint forces' ability to survive, operate and regenerate combat power in the future," Vann said.

National Guard members board a boat during an exercise.

"Clearly, WMD are complex transregional challenges that demand the application of specialized expertise and authorities across our government, as well as our foreign allies and partners," Szymanski testified. "The Department of Defense plays a unique and critical supporting role to our interagency colleagues, especially at the departments of Energy, State, Treasury and Commerce [and] our law enforcement entities to prevent and contain WMD threats, even as we prepare to respond to WMD crises."

The vice admiral said U.S. Special Operations strives to improve its methodology and ensure it provides timely, reliable, relevant and actionable information to support senior department decision-making. "Our aim is to better support senior leaders charged with employing our joint force today, developing and preparing for tomorrow and helping to design a military that is ready to fight and win against both current and future web threats," Szymanski said.

"There are few greater challenges to U.S. national security than those posed by WMD in emerging threats," Williams said. "As the globalized threat landscape evolves, DTRA's uniquely skilled workforce and robust, collaborative network of partners are ready to evolve with it, continuing to safeguard the lives and interests of the United States and our allies abroad."

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Second Member Of "Boogaloo Bois" Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to Hamas

 WASHINGTON – A Minnesota man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to provide material support and resources, namely property, services and weapons, to what he believed was Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization, for use against Israeli and U.S. military personnel overseas.

According to court documents, Michael Solomon, 31, of New Brighton, Minn., was a member of the “Boogaloo Bois,” a group of individuals who espouse violent anti-government sentiments. In late May 2020, the FBI initiated an investigation into Solomon and co-defendant Benjamin Ryan Teeter, both members of the “Boogaloo Bois,” and a sub-group called the “Boojahideen.”

According to court documents, on June 10, 2020, Solomon and Teeter met with a confidential human source (CHS), whom the defendants believed to be a member of Hamas. During this meeting, Solomon and Teeter proposed assisting Hamas as a means of furthering the goals of the Boogaloo Bois. Throughout the course of the conspiracy, Solomon used encrypted messaging applications to communicate with Teeter and the CHS about various aspects of the conspiracy.

On June 28, 2020, Solomon, Teeter and the CHS met an undercover employee of the FBI (UCE) that Solomon believed was a member of Hamas. During this meeting, Solomon and Teeter proposed manufacturing suppressors, untraceable firearms and fully automatic firearms for Hamas.

On July 6, 2020, Solomon and Teeter purchased a drill press for the purpose of manufacturing suppressors for Hamas. Solomon admitted that he and Teeter had planned to use the drill press to also manufacture suppressors for members of the Boogaloo Bois. Solomon and Teeter brought the drill press to Solomon’s home and later used the drill press to manufacture five suppressors.

On July 30, 2020, Solomon and Teeter delivered the suppressors to the CHS and UCE believing those devices would be used by the militant wing of Hamas. During that meeting, the defendants agreed to manufacture additional suppressors for Hamas believing that the next batch of suppressors would be used against Israeli and U.S. military personnel overseas.

Solomon admitted that he and Teeter again met the UCE on Aug. 29, 2020. During this meeting, the defendants gave the UCE a 3-D printed “auto sear” believing that the auto sear would be used by Hamas to convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic rifles. At this time, Solomon and Teeter agreed to obtain, and did obtain, another order of auto sears for the CHS and the UCE.

Solomon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Solomon faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk for the District of Minnesota; Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division; and Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul of the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis accepted the plea.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating the case, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Trial Attorneys George Kraehe and Felice John Viti of the National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Winter of the District of Minnesota are prosecuting the case.