nationalsecuritylaw United States v. McNeil (N.D.Ohio Aug. 2, 2017) (20-year sentence in IS-related murder solicitation case)

August 2, 2017

From DOJ’s press release:

WASHINGTON – Terrence J. McNeil, 24, of Akron, Ohio, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for soliciting the murder of members of the U.S. military. McNeil pleaded guilty earlier this year to five counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence and five counts of making threatening interstate communications.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja and Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division made the announcement.

“With this sentence, McNeil is being held accountable for disseminating ISIS’s violent rhetoric, circulating U.S. military personnel information and explicitly calling for the killing of American service members in their homes and communities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente. “The National Security Division will continue to investigate and prosecute those who use social media to threaten acts of violence against our military members and their families, on behalf of terrorist organizations.”

“This defendant was dedicated to attacking members of the military here in the United States,” Acting U.S. Attorney Sierleja said. “This kind of fanaticism is dangerous and will be aggressively prosecuted.”

“It is reassuring knowing that Terrence McNeil will spend a significant amount of time behind bars for the crimes he committed. The FBI will continue to aggressively defend First Amendment rights, however in this case, McNeil went far beyond free speech by reposting names and addresses of 100 U.S. service members, all with the intent to have them killed,” said Special Agent in Charge Anthony. “The FBI will remain vigilant in our efforts to stop those who wish to support these despicable acts.”

According to documents filed in the case:

McNeil professed his support on social media on numerous occasions for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a designated foreign terrorist organization. On or about Sept. 24, 2015, using a Tumblr account, McNeil reblogged a file with the banner “Islamic State Hacking Division,” followed by “Target: United States Military” and “Leak: Addresses of 100 U.S. Military Personnel.”

The file type is a .gif file, which allows multiple still images to be looped in one file, with a timed delay between each image. The text of the first file reads “O Brothers in America, know that the jihad against the crusaders is not limited to the lands of the Khilafah, it is a world-wide jihad and their war is not just a war against the Islamic State, it is a war against Islam…Know that it is wajib (translated to “necessary”) for you to kill these kuffar! and now we have made it easy for you by giving you addresses, all you need to do is take the final step, so what are you waiting for? Kill them in their own lands, behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their streets thinking that they are safe…”

The file then loops several dozen photographs, purportedly of U.S. military personnel, along with their respective name, address and military branch. The final image looped is a picture of a handgun and a knife with text that reads “…and kill them wherever you find them…”

The defendant posted multiple other kill lists in late 2015, all of which repeated the same refrain, calling on others to seek out and murder U.S. servicemen and women.

McNeil also researched the price online of firearms for sale and possessed detailed bomb-making instructions, according to court documents.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Cleveland investigated this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christos Georgalis and Michelle Baeppler of the Northern District of Ohio, with assistance from Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.


nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Jijakli (C.D. Cal. Aug. 1, 2017) (IEEPA and smuggling indictment involving export of arms to Syria)

August 1, 2017

Love saying “IEEPA”… press release details below.

WASHINGTON – Rasheed Al Jijakli, 56, the chief executive officer of an Orange County, California check cashing business, was arrested this morning on federal charges that accuse him of procuring and illegally exporting rifle scopes, laser boresighters and other tactical equipment from the U.S. to Syria, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). Jijakli is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, on a three-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on July 14. The indictment was unsealed this morning after Jijakli was taken into custody without incident by law enforcement authorities.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown for the Central District of California made the announcement.

The indictment accuses Jijakli, a naturalized U.S. citizen, of violating IEEPA, which authorizes the President of the U.S. to impose economic sanctions on a foreign country in response to an unusual or extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the U.S. In accordance with that authority, the President issued an executive order that included broad restrictions on exports to Syria. The U.S. Department of Commerce subsequently issued corresponding regulations restricting exports to Syria of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations. Jijakli also faces charges of conspiring to violate IEEPA and smuggling.

From January 2012 through March 2013, Jijakli and three other individuals purchased and smuggled export-controlled items to Syria without obtaining licenses from the Department of Commerce. Jijakli and others allegedly hand-carried the items through Istanbul, Turkey and provided them to fighters in Syria. Those items allegedly included day-and night-vision rifle scopes, laser boresighters (tools used to adjust sights on firearms for accuracy when firing), flashlights, radios, a bulletproof vest and other tactical equipment.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court. If convicted of all three charges in the indictment, Jijakli would face a statutory maximum penalty of 50 years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after considering the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement and IRS Criminal Investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Takla of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section of the Central District of California, and Trial Attorney Christian Ford of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.