No Bail for Man Charged With Trying to Support IS Group

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dozens of alleged ISIS supporters arrested in U.S. so far this year.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Lackawanna man who was taken into custody Wednesday on federal charges of attempting to provide material support for the foreign terrorist organization ISIS was denied bail Friday morning.WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — The arrest of an upstate New York man for allegedly attempting to join ISIS calls attention to the challenges of targeting an enemy that inspires terrorism through social media, and it also highlights the importance of community members in identifying terrorist threats, experts say.

Judge Scott said that he “has to consider the safety of the community.” Nagi was charged with attempting to support a terrorist organization after his Wednesday arrest by members of the FBI. Nagi, 44, of Lackawanna, has been arrested for allegedly trying to provide “material support and resources, namely personnel (including himself)” to ISIS, also known as ISIL and the Islamic State. According to court documents, a person previously convicted of terrorism offenses informed the FBI in August 2014 that Nagi “talks about jihad to various people in the Lackawanna community.” Upon returning from a two-month trip to Turkey and Yemen in September, Nagi was interviewed by U.S. He added that Nagi planned to go to Turkey soon and then Syria, where ISIL is based. “The number one threat for the FBI is the threat of ISIL,” said Steve Lanser, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Buffalo’s FBI office. “ISIL has recruited about 200 Americans to fight.

Arafat Nagi is no different than some of the other 200 we look at.” According to Lynch, Nagi researched ISIL controlled borders between the two countries the last time he traveled to Turkey. Lynch also said that Nagi owns property in Yemen, has family in the Middle East and destroyed evidence of people he contacted in Syria by throwing away the SIM card. So many individuals are flirting with joining a terrorist group like ISIS that the justice system does not have the resources the surveil them all, said William Braniff, executive director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland. They have to prioritize cases based on the perception of a threat. “You want to look at behaviors that are also being exhibited in the community,” Cohen said. With tens of thousands of people accessing tweets and social media posts from extremists, some of them for legitimate reasons, behavior in the community may be a better indicator.

Investigators allegedly then found emails, messages, and tweets that raised concerns that they were being influenced by ISIS. “In most cases, we aren’t literally prosecuting these guys for posting pro-ISIL stuff,” Chesney said. Distinguishing between protected speech and illegal incitements to violence can get “pretty murky,” according to Chesney, and one of the issues authorities likely are struggling with is deciding when a suspect crosses that line. Chesney said it would be “unrealistic” to try to prosecute everyone whose social media postings fall somewhere on the spectrum between retweeting an ISIS-related news story and credible threats of violence. When investigators see an alarming post, though, they are likely to investigate further, which may involve using an informant or undercover officer to help build their case.

They are often young people from dysfunctional family environments who feel disconnected from life, sometimes with a history of mental illness or a propensity for violence, and at some point they are drawn to extremist messaging that gives them sense of purpose and belonging. “This is what makes this problem so disconcerting for law enforcement,” he said. Traditional counterterrorism capabilities “were never designed to pick up on individuals who fit this description.” Existing threat detection procedures largely rely on picking up communications between a suspect and a terrorist command and control structure. A person acting independently who believes in the ideology but never communicates directly with the organization is much more difficult to spot. “The time from flash to bang”–from the moment they are inspired to violence to the moment they commit a violent act–is also very rapid with ISIS-related suspects, Cohen said.

This can leave law enforcement with fewer opportunities to arrest the person before it is too late. “It’s the classic ‘Minority Report’ problem,” Chesney said. Attorney’s office was making “very strong inferences based on Twitter and second information.” He stated that any tweets made by Nagi may have been rhetoric that he never planned to act out on, and were considered freedom of speech. “A lot of evidence against him is Twitter and messages,” Schwartz said. “That goes against the first amendment, the most important part of our Constitution.” Schwartz said the FBI was monitoring his client for so long, that if Nagi was such a danger he would have been removed from the streets sooner. If authorities intervene early, they decrease the risk that the suspect will harm anybody, but they also increase the possibility that they will sweep up somebody who never would have done anything at all. He also argued that Nagi’s assault rifle, found in his brother’s home, was registered in New York State. “What kind of terrorist registers an assault rifle post SAFE Act,” asked Schwartz. If they leave the suspect on the streets and monitor them, they can gather intelligence and see who they communicate with, but waiting too long to intervene can lead to tragedy. “Terrorism is a social phenomenon,” Braniff said, and the suspect could also starting radicalizing others if allowed to remain free.

Cohen agreed that community-based prevention programs that provide “off-ramps” for people at risk for radicalization are a key component of combatting modern terrorism. Rutgers University, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and federal law enforcement agencies recently hosted a summit on community-based strategies for preventing mass-casualty attacks. Cohen said these communities, including Dearborn, Michigan and Rutland, Vermont, developed effective processes for evaluating information, monitoring individuals they are concerned about, and intervening when necessary. “It is a new way to approach the problem of homegrown violent extremism,” he said, although not an entirely new idea. Similar tactics were used when he was working to prevent gang violence in Los Angeles in the 1980s, cooperating with the community “to find off-ramps for those people” who could be led away from violent behavior.

Cohen said the same approach could be applied to any mass-casualty attacks that involve tactics similar to terrorism, including school shootings and movie theater shootings.

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

About this site