Last Wednesday, a New Jersey man was arrested on federal charges of
Jonathan Xie, 20, faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for providing material support to a designated terror group, lying on his application to enlist in the U.S. Army, making threats against pro-Israel supporters and claiming he wanted to bomb Trump Tower, according to the Justice Department.
Assistant Attorney General Demers said, “According to the allegations in the complaint, Xie sent money intended for Hamas and tried to join our military hoping to learn skills that would help him commit violence in our country. Thanks to the agents, analysts, and prosecutors working on this investigation, Xie is now in custody and will be held accountable for his crimes.”
New Jersey Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to Hamas, Making False Statements https://t.co/tHmB9MULuE
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) May 22, 2019
Court documents and statements presented in court allege that in April 2019, Xie created an Instagram Live video where he was draped in a black ski mask while expressing that he was anti-Zionist and anti-neo-liberal establishment. He stated that he would travel to Gaza and join Hamas if he had a way to get there. He also donned a Hamas flag and held a gun while he said, “I’m gonna go to the [expletive] pro-Israel march and I’m going to shoot everybody.”
He was referring to demonstrations held on May 31, 2018 in Times Square in New York, New Jersey.com reported.
Other Instagram posts followed where Xie stated, “I want to shoot the pro-israel demonstrators . . . you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people . . . all you need is a gun or vehicle to go on a rampage . . . I do not care if security forces come after me, they will have to put a bullet in my head to stop me.”
Xie sent money to someone in Gaza that he thought was part of a Hamas faction and then bragged about it on Instagram saying, “Just donated $100 to Hamas. Pretty sure it was illegal, but I don’t give a damn.”
In April 2019 while Xie was communicating to an undercover FBI agent, Xie sent him a website link for Al-Qassam Brigades — a Hamas faction — with screenshots on how he too, could send donations through Bitcoin. Xie sent another donation at that time to confirm the information was accurate.
In Feb. 2019, Xie announced on Instagram that he wanted to join the U.S. Army so he could “learn how to kill so I can use that knowledge.”
Xie added, “Idk [I don’t know] if I pass the training…If I should do lone wolf. That is why I have to learn military techniques from the Army . . .”
As part of the application process, Xie completed a Security Clearance Application for National Security Positions in Feb. 2019, answering no when asked if he had ever associated with anyone involved in activities to further terrorism.
As investigators dug deeper, they uncovered additional social media accounts and a YouTube account. The accounts contained videos that “promoted a call for Allah’s soldiers, the war in Syria, Hezbollah, the Houthi crusade in Yemen, and support for Bashar al Assad, Saddam Hussein, and North Korea,” the Justice Department said.
In April 2019, video surveillance captured Xie outside at the Trump Tower. Following his visit there, he went back to Instagram posting photos of the tower.
One photo was captioned with, “I want to bomb Trump Tower,” the other photo included a poll with bomb emojis, asking “[S]hould I bomb Trump Tower?”
Xie shared his yearning to blow up the Israeli Embassy in New York, and the need for “someone … to get a truck filled with explosives and blow up the Coachella event.”
Assistant Director McGarrity said, “The FBI is committed to stopping anyone who attempts to assist terrorist organizations or who threatens to commit acts of violence in our communities. The threat from homegrown violent extremists who self-radicalize remains persistent.”
U.S. Attorney Carpenito said, “Homegrown violent extremists like Xie are a serious threat to national security. The actions that he took and planned to take made that threat both clear and present, and we commend our law enforcement partners for working closely with us to stop him before he could carry out his plans to commit violence on American soil. We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our country and its citizens from the threat of terrorism, whether that threat comes from abroad or – as here – from within.”