A 22-year-old Pennsylvania man was indicted Thursday for allegedly soliciting others to engage in acts of terrorism and for disseminating instructions for making explosives for use in acts of terrorism on the Internet.
Emerson Winfield Begolly encouraged attacks within the United States last year on an extremist Islamic web forum, the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF), the indictment says. Begolly, who served as a moderator on AMEF, posted links to a 101-page document called "The Explosives Course" by "The Martyred Sheikh Professor, Abu Khabbab al Misri," purportedly one of al Qaida's top biological and chemical weapons experts. The document, posted in December, includes instructions on how to set up a laboratory, conduct chemistry and manufacture explosives.
"Emerson Begolly is accused of repeatedly using the Internet to promote violent jihad against Americans," said Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. "These allegations demonstrate how young people in the United States can become influenced by – and eventually participate in – jihadist propaganda that is a serious threat to the safety of us all."
Begolly originally was arrested in January after he bit two FBI agents who approached him in hopes of interviewing him. He also allegedly tried to pull a loaded handgun from his jacket. Begolly, who has been in jail since, was charged with assaulting federal agents and other firearms-related charges. He could face life in prison if convicted on those charges in Pennsylvania.
In the newer case, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence if convicted, Begolly posted lengthy discussions on the AMEF site regarding the need for violent attacks in the United States, and suggested targets including police stations, synagogues, Jewish schools, post offices, military facilities, bridges, train lines and cell phone towers and plans. He also advocated taking and killing hostages.
"Peaceful protests do not work," he wrote last July. "The kuffar [non believer] see war as solution to their problems, so we must see war as the solution to our[s]. No peace. But bullets, bombs, and martyrdom operations."
He also urged others to commit "Real terrorism, but on a small scale. Attacks of civilians or police or government agents of military. Best as single shot, drive by, hit and run, beat down … It is best if targeting soldiers or police that they are off duty and out of uniform simply because they investigations will look usually for 'robbery gone wrong' or 'revenge' then as act of terrorism or revolt."