U.S. citizen charged with helping ISIS through social media

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Amer Sinan Alhaggagi, 22, of Oakland, California, has been charged with attempting to set-up social media accounts for ISIS, federal prosecutors confirmed Friday.

According to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Alhaggagi — who has been in federal custody since last November — allegedly met with undercover agents on “numerous occasions to plan a potential terrorist attack” and has spent significant time in Yemen.

Alhaggagi’s attorney, August Gugelmann, issued a statement, saying Alhaggagi was “naïve” and not aware of who the individuals were that he was communicating with in chat rooms. “Amer is not anti-American and does not support ISIS or any other terrorist organization. He is completely nonviolent, and he took no actions to harm anyone,” he stated.

It appears that Alhaggagi unknowingly came in contact with undercover government agents or cooperating sources in those chat rooms, according to a protective order filed in December sealing evidence in the case, which included “materials describing communications that occurred between the defendant on the one hand and undercover agents and cooperating sources on the other, whose identities remain confidential and non-public.”

In the detention order for Alhaggagi filed on Dec. 20, federal prosecutors told the court that the unemployed young man was “both a serious flight risk and a danger to the community.”

According to other court documents, the FBI originally took Alhaggagi into custody last November on identity theft related charges, and it looks like he has been under surveillance for quite some time.

An Illinois mother was recently detained for allegedly attempting to aid ISIS.

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