Washington, D.C. — A former capital city police officer has been indicted for allegedly attempting to aid the Islamic State (ISIS), the Department of Justice announced late last week.
According to a press release issued on Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Eastern Virginia
“Nicholas Young, 37, of Fairfax, who was formerly employed as a police officer with the Metro Transit Police Department, was indicted today by a federal grand jury on charges of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.”
Young was first arrested in Virginia in August. ABC News reported at the time that he had been charged with “attempting to provide material support to ISIS.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
“The material support and resources that Young attempted to provide included, but was not limited to: Protection of ISIL personnel from capture or harm by attempting to mislead the FBI as to what Young believed to be his friend’s travel to Syria to join ISIL; and the provision of gift cards for ISIL.”
The friend Young sought to protect was actually an undercover FBI agent operating as a “confidential human source.” The informant had led Young to believe he was working on behalf of ISIS, a mistruth that ultimately led Young to defend him.
“During an FBI interview, Young was told the FBI was investigating the attempt of his associate (the CHS) to join ISIL. Nevertheless, in an attempt to thwart the prosecution of the CHS and himself, Young attempted to deceive investigators as to the destination and purpose of the CHS’ travel.”
According to official allegations, Young “attempted to obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding of the Grand Jury by sending a text message to the CHS’ cell phone in order to make it falsely appear to the FBI that the CHS had left the United States to go on vacation in Turkey. In actuality, Young believed the CHS had gone to Turkey and then to Syria in order to join and fight for ISIL.”
He now faces up to 60 years in prison.
It’s evident Young is disturbed; he reportedly told an undercover agent he enjoyed torturing animals. It’s also apparent that he harbored sympathy for ISIS.
What’s less clear is the extent to which the FBI encouraged this support. Young had been on the FBI’s radar since 2010, and according to the Justice Department, over the years he had “repeatedly expressed his interest in terrorism-related activity,” ABC News reported in August.
On one occasion, he met with an undercover agent, as well as Amine El Khalifi, who plead guilty to planning a terror attack in Washington D.C. in 2012. By this measure, Young was mingling with a dangerous terrorist.
The problem with this narrative, however, is that the FBI has made a habit of facilitating terror plots — only to break them up and tout their vigilant protection of the United States. Though the FBI and federal government take credit for having stopped hundreds of terror plots since 9/11, a report by Human Rights Watch in 2014 found that “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.”
That report detailed a “system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.”
The Daily Beast considered Khalifi’s arrest in the context of the FBI’s fabricated terror plots:
“If federal authorities thought Amine El Khalifi was a clear and present danger to America, they could have easily solved the problem by deporting the 29-year-old Moroccan, who had been living as an illegal immigrant in northern Virginia for years, having overstayed his visitor’s visa by a decade.”
Rather than outright solving the problem, however, the FBI encouraged him to plot an attack before arresting him:
“Instead, he was arrested Friday in a garage outside the U.S. Capitol for allegedly planning to set off a fake suicide vest and shoot people with an inoperable automatic weapon—both provided to him by his government handlers.” [emphasis added]
Though the FBI gave Khalifi fake materials, the agency has targeted mentally ill individuals and provided them with actual weaponry.
In at least one case, the FBI targeted “a mentally ill man who was doing nothing more than ranting about violent jihad and talking (admittedly in frightening ways) about launching attacks—until he met an FBI informant. At that point, he started making shopping lists for weapons,” The Intercept reported, noting the FBI supplied him with weapons and then charged him for possessing them.
Evidently, the FBI is guilty of providing “material support” to terrorists — the same charges Young now faces.