A young man is facing serious criminal charges after authorities claim that he has acted to provide support to a terrorist group. The 26-year-old Virginia resident was formerly an Army National Guardsman, but he now stands accused of federal crimes for what authorities claim is his role in planning and facilitating a terrorist attack. Should he be found guilty on those charges, he could face life-altering punitive measures.
Prosecutors claim that the young man made efforts to secure weapons for use by members of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He is also accused of providing financial support to assist individuals who were trying to join the group. The man's involvement with ISIL members is thought to have began after a visit to Africa and exposure to online lectures by a now-deceased leader of Al-Qaeda.
Much of the information used to back these charges was obtained by a source from the FBI. Court documents state that this source met with the young man on several occasions, and that discussions between the two were focused on the young man's wish to support ISIL in whatever manner possible. The Virginia man eventually went to a gun dealer and purchased a gun that he believed would be used to support an ISIL attack.
While these details are certainly disturbing, it is important to remember that the initial details surrounding federal crimes charges come almost exclusively from the side of the prosecution. The man's defense team has not had the opportunity to present their side to the public, and the details of his defense will likely not be made available until the matter reaches court. If the Virginia man is unable to avoid conviction, he faces a sentence of as many as 20 years in prison.
Source: wtkr.com, "Former Army National Guardsman charged for attempting to assist ISIL", Becca Mitchell, July 5, 2016