WASHINGTON – Haris Qamar, 25, of Burke, Virginia, was arrested this morning on charges of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. His initial court appearance is at 2 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement after the charges were unsealed.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, on May 26, Qamar and an FBI confidential witness (CW) discussed a video that ISIL was supposedly making to encourage lone wolf attacks in the Washington, D.C., area. Unbeknownst to Qamar, there was no actual video being created. Qamar and the CW discussed the need for photos of possible targets in and around Washington, D.C., for use in the purported ISIL video.
According to the complaint, Qamar offered the CW ideas of where to take photographs for use in the video, including the Pentagon and numerous landmarks in Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., which could be targeted for terrorist attacks. On June 3, a conversation was audio and video recorded when CW picked up Qamar in a vehicle and they drove to area landmarks on the list Qamar had developed. Qamar allegedly said, “bye bye DC, stupid ass kufar, kill’em all.” Qamar and CW met again on June 10 and drove to a location in Arlington to take additional photos for the purported ISIL video.
According to the complaint, the investigation revealed that Qamar operated over 60 variations of the Twitter handle “newerajihadi,” which Qamar used to express his support for ISIL and to share videos and photos of extreme violence, including beheadings and mass shootings.
According to the allegations, during numerous conversations with the CW, Qamar expressed his interest and excitement in the extreme violence that ISIL is known for and said that he loved the bodies, blood and beheadings. On several occasions, Qamar allegedly said that he could slaughter someone and described how he would do it.
On Sept. 11, 2015, terrorists connected with ISIL posted a “kill list” to the internet containing the names and addresses of U.S. military members. A few days later, Qamar allegedly told the CW that the residences of several service members who appeared on the “kill list” were near Qamar’s own home, and that Qamar had observed undercover police cars near those residences. According to the affidavit, on Sept. 16, 2015, Qamar tweeted his prayer that Allah “give strength to the mujahideen to slaughter every single US military officer.”
Additionally, the affidavit alleges that on Sept. 25, 2015, Qamar told the CW that he tried to join ISIL in 2014, but that his parents prevented him from going overseas by controlling his passport. Qamar allegedly said that his parents threatened to notify law enforcement authorities and said that he fought with his father and called his father a traitor to Islam. According to the allegations, on Nov. 18, 2015, Qamar told the CW that he would leave the United States and join ISIL if his father gave him back his passport.
A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, Qamar faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon D. Kromberg of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Josh Parecki of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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