An Ohio man pleaded guilty Wednesday to soliciting the murders of United States military members on behalf of ISIS.
Terrence J. McNeil, 24, of Akron, Ohio, pleaded guilty to five counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence and five counts of making threatening interstate communications in connection to his solicitation of the murders of U.S. military personnel.
Court documents revealed that McNeil, a U.S. citizen, pledged his support for ISIS on numerous occasions on social media. Around September 24, 2015, McNeil used a Tumblr account to repost a file with the banner “Islamic State Hacking Division,” followed by “Target: United States Military” and “Leak: Addresses of 100 U.S. Military Personnel.”
McNeil utilized a .gif file which allows multiple still images to be looped in one file, with a delay between images. The text of the first file read, “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 proceeded through numerous photographs, supposedly of U.S. military members, including their respective names, addresses and military branches. The final picture featured a handgun and a knife with text that read, “…and kill them wherever you find them…”
In late 2015, McNeil posted additional kill lists and incited others to seek out and murder U.S. military personnel.
McNeil faces between 15 and 20 years in prison, and will learn his fate on August 2.
“Terrence McNeil pleaded guilty to soliciting the murder of members of our military. He disseminated ISIL’s violent rhetoric, circulated U.S. military personnel information, and explicitly called for the killing of American service members in their homes and communities. Now, he will be held accountable,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism. We will continue to use all of our tools to disrupt those who use social media to threaten acts of violence against our military members and their families, on behalf of terrorist organizations.”
“While we aggressively defend First Amendment rights, the individual arrested 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 Stephen D. Anthony. “We will remain vigilant in our efforts to stop those who wish to support these despicable acts.”
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Cleveland investigated the case.
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