Nicholas Young

Nicholas Young is a U.S. citizen, former law enforcement officer, and alleged Islamic extremist. He was arrested in Washington D.C. in August 2016 for attempting to provide support to ISIS. According to the FBI, in July 2016, Young sent electronic gift cards worth $245 to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Syrian-based foreign fighter for ISIS. The agent had reportedly told Young that the funds would help develop “messaging accounts” to be used to recruit westerners to ISIS.Justin Wm. Moyer, “’I make friends easily’: How Nicholas Young allegedly supported the Islamic State,” Washington Post, August 3, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2016/08/03/i-make-friends-easily-how-nicholas-young-allegedly-supported-the-islamic-state/?utm_term=.80f3e7b87482;
“United States of America v. Nicholas Young,” United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 2, 2016, 3, http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/us-vs-nicholas-young/2108/.
In December 2017, Young was found guilty of his charges, which included attempting to provide material support to ISIS and obstruction of justice. He faces a sentence of up to 60 years in prison.“Jury Convicts Former Police Officer,” U.S. Department of Justice, December 18, 2017, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/jury-convicts-former-police-officer-attempting-support-isis. A convert to Islam, Young is the first law enforcement officer in the United States to be arrested and convicted for supporting a terrorist group.Rachel Weiner, “Police officer for D.C. subway system accused of trying to help ISIS,” Washington Post, August 3, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/metro-police-officer-arrested-on-terrorism-charges/2016/08/03/6b7541de-5981-11e6-9aee-8075993d73a2_story.html?utm_term=.2babb445631b; Rachel Weiner, “Former D.C. area police officer found guilty of trying to back Islamic State,” Washington Post, December 18, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/former-dc-area-police-officer-found-guilty-of-attempting-to-back-islamic-state/2017/12/18/0bbca6b2-e40c-11e7-833f-155031558ff4_story.html.

The FBI first took an interest in Young because of his friendship with Zachary Chesser, a Virginia man who pled guilty to attempting to provide material support to al-Shabab.Justin Wm. Moyer, “’I make friends easily’: How Nicholas Young allegedly supported the Islamic State,” Washington Post, August 3, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2016/08/03/i-make-friends-easily-how-nicholas-young-allegedly-supported-the-islamic-state/?utm_term=.80f3e7b87482. During the FBI’s first interview with Young in September 2010, Young professed shock at the mention of Chesser’s July 2010 arrest, adding that it would be his “religious and personal duty” to inform someone should he become aware of any terrorist plotting.“United States of America v. Nicholas Young,” United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 2, 2016, 3, http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/us-vs-nicholas-young/2108/.

In interviews with FBI officers and conversations with undercover agents between 2010 and 2015, Young disclosed that he tortured animals as a child, was a collector of Nazi memorabilia, and dressed up as “Jihadi John” for a party. He also expressed support for the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, boasted that he would decapitate anyone who betrayed him, and provided counsel on avoiding issues at Turkish border control.Justin Wm. Moyer, “’I make friends easily’: How Nicholas Young allegedly supported the Islamic State,” Washington Post, August 3, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2016/08/03/i-make-friends-easily-how-nicholas-young-allegedly-supported-the-islamic-state/?utm_term=.80f3e7b87482;
United States of America v. Nicholas Young,” United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 2, 2016, 9, 11, http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/us-vs-nicholas-young/2108/.

According to his own account, in 2011 Young traveled twice to Libya to join rebel militants and fight against the regime of then-President Muammar Gaddafi.Khaleda Rahman, “DC transit officer is charged after ‘trying to help ISIS’ after years of communication with FBI source posing as jihadist , traveling to Libya twice and praising the Charlie Hebdo attacks,” Daily Mail (London), August 3, 2016, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3721941/DC-transit-police-officer-charged-trying-help-ISIS.html. He traveled with “body armor, a Kevlar helmet, and several other military-style items,” according to the criminal complaint. Although initially turned away at the Libyan border by Egyptian border control, he took a direct flight from Tunisia to Libya on his second journey.United States of America v. Nicholas Young,” United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 2, 2016, 6, http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/us-vs-nicholas-young/2108/.

Young is being held at a Virginia detention center.Rachel Weiner, “Former Metro officer accused of trying to aid ISIS moved our of Alexandra jail,” Washington Post, October 4, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/former-metro-officer-accused-of-trying-to-aid-isis-moved-out-of-alexandria-jail/2016/10/04/6ee3ec44-8a5f-11e6-bff0-d53f592f176e_story.html?utm_term=.6c7f4e96eeaa.

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On May 23, 2016, two suicide bombings at a military base in Aden, Yemen, killed at least 45 army recruits and injured approximately 60 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.   

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