A 23-year-old Oakland, Calif. man could serve as many as 33 years in a federal prison, if convicted, after pleading guilty to trying to provide material support to ISIS.
Amer Sinan Alhaggagi gave his guilty plea to Judge Charles R. Breyer on July 18, claiming responsibility also for identity theft and being in possession of bomb making apparatus, according to the Justice Department.
Alhaggagi made a video of himself boasting about the tactics he planned to use in a terrorist attack.
He also admitted that he plotted to bomb gay bars, plant bombs on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, and sell cocaine laced with poison, Fox News reported.
What he didn’t know was the person sitting alongside him was really an undercover FBI agent.
Alhaggagi said in the video, “I’ve been so excited about it…(I’ve been) hyped up.”
He told the undercover agent he wanted to devise a terror attack in the U.S. that would be so big that “every American here thinks twice or three times before he leaves his home. Like, ‘is it necessary for me to leave right now?’”
Alhaggagi has a lengthy track record of supporting ISIS.
An East Bay man who admitted to setting up social media for ISIS will go before a judge today for the punishment phase of his case that brought federal charges against him of attempting to support a terrorist organization.https://t.co/59UldK354Y
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) December 17, 2018
In 2016, he made Twitter, Facebook and Gmail accounts for others who he believed to be in support of ISIS and in 2017 he visited Yemen “to plan a potential terrorist attack,” with individuals he didn’t know were undercover agents.
Court records indicate that at least one of the individuals Alhaggagi opened accounts for was a member of ISIS.
At one point, Alhaggagi went as far as to apply for a job at the Oakland Police Department so he could steal guns.
His defense lawyer and family maintain that he hasn’t committed any crime.
Alhaggagi’s family said, “Amer did not commit or plan a violent act. He opened a small number of social media accounts for ISIS sympathizers. He knows now that this was wrong and is sorry to have caused so much trouble. Amer has the support of his family and his community, who are committed to working with him and making sure that he will be well integrated into daily life when he is released from prison.”
“You can’t do that. And if you do it in an undercover operation and you want to say that you’re going to harm the American people, the government is going to come after you for that,” said security analyst Jeff Harp.