ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA) -- The FBI has arrested a local college student on charges he used Facebook to make threats about blowing up pipe bombs on Metro and on Georgetown streets, both at the height of rush hour to achieve maximum results. In addition, he is accused of threatening a Facebook friend who apparently turned him into the FBI.
Federal documents name Awaid Younis, who is also known as Sundullah Ghizai and as Mohhanme Khan, and who lives with family members on 11th Street South here.
Younis has not been charged under terrorism statutes but, rather, with communicating threats using interstate communications.
"I can believe it, " said neighbor and former high school classmate LaRondre Gaskins.
"He was real quiet. He stayed to himself, kind of like an outsider. No friends but certain things that happened he was real weird about , like when 911 happened.
In school he clapped about it in class..and said 'That's what they get." Then they beat him up," Gaskins told 9News Now.
"More and more wannabe jihadists are connecting with each other through social media," said Ray Locker the Managing Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The apparent friend who turned in Younis allegedly took cell phone pictures of the online chat in which he is accused of threatening to harm her, believing she had reported him to authorities.
"You are sticking your nose where it doesn't belong into something bigger than you and I. That is the problem with Americans. They can't leave well enough alone until something happens. Then they sit there wondering why we dropped the twin towers like a bad habit ha ha ha. I'm telling you right now, you are going to regret doing what you did. For your peace, I hope what I am hearing is all lies," Younis is quoted as having written in that chat.
The threats against Metro, Georgetown, and the Facebook friend constitute the charges against Younis.
Social media can be appealing to those seeking others who believe in their cause. "It's easy to find certain people, as we've found.There are a number of sites devoted to certain radicals...you go there. You find out who likes him. You can become friends with that person. You can message back and forth in a way that's not as easily detected as e-mail and you can do what you want to do there," said Locker.
Investigators have found social media useful in terrorism investigations, as the Younis case illustrates. So why use social media if you are planning, or thinking about terrorist acts?
"The smart ones won't. They'll find a different way to do it. A lot of times recently what we've been finding is the people who aren't that smart are the ones being caught," Locker told 9News Now.
Men identifying themselves as the father and brother of Younis left the family home Tuesday evening saying "He is innocent. He is innocent."
A judge as ordered a psychiatric examination prior to Younis' next court appearance next week. He remains in custody.