The FBI says Mufid Elfgeeh used three Twitter accounts, 23 Facebook accounts and one WhatsApp account to support the Islamic State.
He pleaded guilty to terrorism charges on Thursday and prosecutors recommended 22 years in prison.
The pizza parlor owner, who is a naturalized US citizen from Yemen, communicated with two people who expressed a desire to travel to Syria and fight with the Islamic State.
Both would-be fighters worked for the FBI.
Elfgeeh was arrested in a Rochester, New York Walmart parking lot by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force after meeting an informant to pick up guns he purchased.
“Thanks to today’s convictions, one of the first ISIL recruiters ever captured in this country stands convicted of terrorism related charges,” US attorney William Hochul said in a statement. “While our case against this defendant will conclude with a very long jail sentence, our ongoing efforts to defeat ISIL and other terrorist groups will continue until all are brought to justice.”
Most so-called terror cases in the United States are FBI sting operations. “In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” a report issued by Human Rights Watch in 2014 states.
The report “portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.”
Also on Thursday the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested a 19-year old Harrisburg, Pennsylvania man the government says planned a terrorist attack.
Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz was charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State when a search of the home he shared with his parents turned up a backpack which contained high-capacity weapons magazines, ammunition, a knife, and other survival items, according to John P. Carlin, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, WGAL 8 News reported Friday.
News reports also say Aziz had a balaclava of a “similar style worn by ISIS members to hide their identities.”
Authorities said Aziz used nearly 60 Twitter accounts to call for violence against members of the US military and also threatened to behead Obama.
“I commend the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Pennsylvania State Police, along with local law enforcement and other members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, for their efforts in apprehending this individual for his alleged efforts to aid ISIL,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in a statement. “We understand that this individual is a U.S. citizen and his arrest is a reminder that we must remain vigilant, strong and focused on anyone here in the state who may seek to harm Pennsylvanians. I am proud of PSP’s ongoing efforts to protect Pennsylvania citizens. My administration is in constant communication with our law enforcement partners and will continue to assist in any way possible. ”
Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said the city knew about Aziz “and at no point was public safety in jeopardy.”
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