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Pro-ISIS supporter pleads guilty to threatening FBI and military on Twitter

Twitter on a computer screen (Andy Melton/Flickr)
March 14, 2018

Safya Roe Yassin of Buffalo pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to using Twitter to transmit threatening communications across state lines.

The 40-year-old published threats against two FBI employees and two former members of the military and their families in the name of ISIS. Yassin could serve a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without the possibility of parole.

Yassin confessed that she sustained a series of Twitter accounts under the alias “Muslimah” where she used to tweet messages supporting ISIS, according to the Justice Department. She also admitted to reposting messages that she knew originated by ISIS operatives living overseas.

Yassin released tweets with the following quote: “Rejoice, O supporters of the Caliphate State, with the dissemination of the information to be delivered to lone wolves … Allah said: ‘And slay them wherever you may come upon them.’”

Yassin conversed via Twitter with a person identified as “Individual A,” whom she said was an ISIS operative not located in the U.S.

The two spoke regarding ISIS’s publishing of personally identifying information to threaten violence against U.S. government employees and others, in the name of ISIS.

The conversations took place from May 2015 through at least October 2015. Yassin and Individual A regularly spoke about helping new ISIS recruits set up pro-ISIS accounts, according to court documents.

With the intention of threatening on behalf of ISIS, Yassin re-tweeted ISIS operative tweets to her following in August 2015.

On Aug. 24, 2015, Yassin said she re-tweeted a message that included the watchword “Wanted to kill,” followed by the personal information of Victim 1, including first and last name, employee status of the FBI, city of residence, zip code and phone number.

The same day she threatened the same phrase, adding information for Victim 2.

On Oct. 8, 2015, Yassin re-tweeted a message from Individual A that included public documents related to Victim 3, a U.S. service member, including name, address, photos of his family, and the names of his wife and children.

“Once again I leave these details online to cause havoc in his life [and] for my brothers and al Qaeda in the U.S. to eventually hunt him down & kill him,” the document stated.

Included in that same document was the name and home address of Victim 4, a former U.S. service member, who was referred to by them as “number one target.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Casey and Abram McGull II are prosecuting this case, which was under FBI investigation.