nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Kareem (D. Arizona Feb. 8, 2017) (ISIL conspiracy to provide material support sentencing)

February 9, 2017

From DOJ’s press release:

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, 45, of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison, and lifetime supervised release following his conviction on numerous offenses. On March 17, 2016, Kareem was found guilty by a federal jury of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”), a designated foreign terrorist organization; conspiring to transport firearms and ammunition in interstate commerce with the intent to commit murder and aggravated assault; transporting firearms and ammunition in interstate commerce with the intent to commit murder and aggravated assault; making false statements to the FBI; and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, Acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange for the District of Arizona and Special Agent in Charge Michael DeLeon of the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton.

“Following the first jury trial in the country involving a homeland attack committed in the name of ISIL, today’s sentence holds Abdul Kareem accountable for conspiring to provide material support to the foreign terrorist organization and other federal offenses,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “The defendant conspired with Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi to provide material support to ISIL and to transport firearms in interstate commerce with the intent to commit murder and aggravated assault. Thanks to the response of brave law enforcement officers at the scene, no innocent lives were lost when Simpson and Soofi attacked the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. The National Security Division will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who conspire with others to support foreign terrorist organizations and to commit acts of violence in our country.”

“Today’s sentence, in the country’s first trial involving a homeland terrorist attack committed in the name of ISIL, demonstrates the commitment of the United States to hold accountable any person who participates in or aids in any way acts of terrorism against our citizens,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Strange. “I want to thank the FBI for the tremendous effort that went into the underlying investigation, as well as the brave law enforcement officials in Garland whose quick action during the attack prevented a much larger tragedy.”

“The sentencing of Kareem is significant and sends a strong message to those who support terrorism,” said Special Agent in Charge DeLeon. “Unfortunately, some people who do not believe in the American way of life are plotting to do us harm. The protection of U.S. citizens and our communities remains the FBI’s number one priority. This can only be accomplished through the joint and coordinated efforts of our law enforcement, our intelligence community, and our vigilant citizens. I would like to commend our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, to include the Joint Terrorism Task Force, for their role in this case."

The evidence at trial showed that beginning around June 2014, Kareem and two friends, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, began conspiring to support ISIL. Their conspiracy focused on supporting ISIL by attacking targets in the U.S. Over the course of the conspiracy, Kareem, Simpson and Soofi considered attacking military bases, individual military service members, shopping malls, the Super Bowl and the “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest.”

On May 3, 2015, the morning of the contest, Simpson and Soofi drove from Arizona to Texas, stopped their car near the contest, got out and began firing assault rifles at security personnel and law enforcement officers. A security guard was injured by one of their bullets, and Simpson and Soofi were shot and killed by police officers in the firefight.

Additionally, the evidence at trial showed that Kareem’s role in the conspiracy included assisting the other two men with firearms training, providing money to purchase some of the weapons and ammunition used in the attack, instruction on how to care for and maintain their weapons, taking Simpson and Soofi shooting in the desert, hosting Simpson and Soofi in his home and providing a meeting location to plan the attack. The evidence also showed that Kareem supported ISIL and knew that Simpson and Soofi supported ISIL. Kareem did not travel to Texas and was not injured during the attack. During an interview with FBI agents soon after the attack, Kareem lied about having prior knowledge of the attack and the contest.

This case was investigated by the FBI, and the prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Koehler and Kristen Brook of the District of Arizona, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Rebecca Magnone and Deputy Chief Matthew Blue of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

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nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Martin (D. Maryland Feb. 8, 2017) (indictment in NSA theft case)

February 9, 2017

From the press release (indictment is available via the link at the bottom):

A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Harold Thomas Martin III, 52, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, with willful retention of national defense information.

The indictment was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein for the District of Maryland and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office.

“As a private contractor who worked on classified programs at various U.S. government agencies, the defendant was entrusted with access to sensitive government materials," said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “Martin allegedly violated the trust our nation put in him by stealing and retaining classified documents and other material relating to the national defense. Insider threats are a significant danger to our national security and we will continue to work relentlessly with our law enforcement and intelligence partners to identify, pursue and prosecute such individuals.”

“The indictment alleges that for as long as two decades, Harold Martin flagrantly abused the trust placed in him by the government by stealing documents containing highly classified information,” said U.S. Attorney Rosenstein.

"The FBI investigation and this indictment reveal a broken trust from a security clearance holder," said Special Agent Johnson. "Willfully retaining highly classified national defense information in a vulnerable setting is a violation of the security policy and the law, which weakens our national security and cannot be tolerated. The FBI is vigilant against such abuses of trust, and will vigorously investigate cases whenever classified information is not maintained in accordance with the law."

According to the indictment, from December 1993 through Aug. 27, 2016, Martin was employed by at least seven different private companies and assigned as a contractor to work at a number of government agencies. Martin was required to receive and maintain a security clearance in order to work at each of the government agencies to which he was assigned. Martin held security clearances up to Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) at various times, and worked on a number of highly classified, specialized projects where he had access to government computer systems, programs and information, including classified information. Over his many years of holding a security clearance, Martin received training regarding classified information and his duty to protect classified materials from unauthorized disclosure.

The indictment alleges that beginning no earlier than 1996 and continuing through Aug. 27, 2016, Martin stole and retained U.S. government property, including documents that bore markings indicating that they were property of the U.S. and contained highly classified information, including TOP SECRET/SCI. A Top Secret classification means that unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the U.S.

Martin allegedly retained stolen documents containing classified information relating to the national defense at his residence and in his vehicle. Martin knew that the stolen documents contained classified information that related to national defense and that he was never authorized to retain these documents at his residence or in his vehicle.

If convicted, Martin faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the 20 counts of willful retention of national defense information. Martin’s initial appearance is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 14, before U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Martin remains detained.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security McCord and U.S. Attorney Rosenstein commended the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked the Maryland State Police for its assistance. Ms. McCord and Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary A. Myers, Nicolas A. Mitchell and Harvey E. Eisenberg for the District of Maryland and Trial Attorney David Aaron of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, who are prosecuting the case.

Martin Harold Indictment