US Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds, 22, a U.S. citizen, was arrested at Chicago Midway International Airport while attempting to fly to Cairo, Egypt. He is charged with allegedly conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organization. His cousin, who planned on shooting up to 150 military personnel at an Illinois National Guard installation, was also arrested.
- Edmonds told his cousin where the soldiers might be stationed inside, which rooms to avoid and the firepower that would be required
- Edmonds obtained a military training schedule for his cousin and would provide a list of officers to attack
- The cousin was going to carry out the attack later wearing his Edmonds’ military uniform and carrying AK-47s and grenades
- They said they wanted to carry out the attack similar to the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris
- Both were motivated by Islamic doctrine and wanted to go to Syria to join ISIS but if he couldn’t, Edmonds said would stay in the U.S. and “fight and die here in the name of Allah.”
One Man Arrested While Attempting to Travel Abroad; Both Chicago Area Men Spoke of Using Army Uniforms, Military Knowledge and Access to Attack Illinois Military Installation
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois and Special Agent in Charge Robert Holley of the FBI’s Chicago Division announced today that two Aurora, Illinois, men were arrested Wednesday night for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organization.
Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds, 22, a U.S. citizen, was arrested without incident at Chicago Midway International Airport by members of the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) while attempting to fly to Cairo, Egypt.
Jonas Edmonds, 29, a U.S. citizen, was arrested without incident at his home in Aurora.
Both defendants were charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois with one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.
The initial appearances of Hasan Edmonds and Jonas Edmonds are scheduled for today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan at 3 p.m. CST.
As alleged in the complaint, in late 2014, Hasan Edmonds came to the attention of the FBI. The investigation subsequently revealed that he and Jonas Edmonds had devised a plan for Hasan Edmonds to travel overseas for the purpose of waging violence on behalf of ISIL.
Hasan Edmonds, a current member of the Illinois Army National Guard, planned to use his military training to fight on behalf of ISIL. As part of their plans, Hasan Edmonds booked airline travel to depart yesterday from Chicago and arrive in Cairo today, with layovers in Detroit and Amsterdam.
As alleged in the complaint, both defendants also planned for Jonas Edmonds to carry out an act of terrorism in the United States after Hasan Edmonds departed.
In particular, both defendants met with an FBI undercover employee and presented a plan to carry out an armed attack against a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois, an installation where Hasan Edmonds had been training.
Jonas Edmonds asked the FBI undercover employee to assist in the attack and explained that they would use Hasan Edmonds’ uniforms and the information he supplied about how to access the installation and target officers for attack.
“According to the charges filed today, the defendants allegedly conspired to provide material support to ISIL and planned to travel overseas to support the terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “In addition, they plotted to attack members of our military within the United States. Disturbingly, one of the defendants currently wears the same uniform of those they allegedly planned to attack. I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for disrupting the threat posed by these defendants.”
“We will pursue and prosecute with vigor those who support ISIL and its agenda of ruthless violence,” said U.S. Attorney Fardon. “Anyone who threatens to harm our citizens and allies, whether abroad or here at home, will face the full force of justice.”
“The arrests today are the culmination of a successful investigation that involved a great deal of coordination and communication with our law enforcement and military partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Holley. “Throughout the course of this investigation, the defendants were closely and carefully monitored to ensure the safety of the public and our service men and women.”
Conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s JTTF, which is comprised of special agents of the FBI, officers of the Chicago Police Department and representatives from an additional 20 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant Attorney General Carlin joins U.S. Attorney Fardon in extending his appreciation to the JTTF.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), the Illinois State Police, the Aurora Police Department and the Illinois National Guard also provided significant assistance.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry Jonas and John Kness of the Northern District of Illinois, and Trial Attorney Lolita Lukose of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Edmonds Complaint (pdf)
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. . . . It’s unclear how Hasan Edmonds first came to the attention of the FBI, but last year an undercover agent sent him a message on Facebook, according to a criminal complaint. In response, Edmonds said he was trying to get all his “affairs in order and get my funds up for the plunge.”
“I want to make sure my affairs here are set before leaving to give my all for this deen” or faith, he said.
In January, Edmonds received another message from the undercover FBI agent, asking if he was going to Turkey or Egypt to study.
“I wish to go to Dawlah,” Edmonds said. Dawlah is used frequently to refer to the Islamic State. He later told the undercover agent he was required to support the Islamic State.
“The State has been established and it is our duty to heed the call,” he said. “Inshallah we will complete our task or be granted shahada,” or martyrdom. . . .
. . . . Once Edmonds arrived in Cairo, another individual was supposed to assist him in traveling to Derna, Libya, a city controlled by the Islamic State, according to the criminal complaint.
Edwards planned to train others or conduct reconnaissance in Libya, according to the complaint.
In an e-mail exchange last month with the FBI, Jonas Edmonds, who used the alias “Yunus,” told the undercover agent he wanted to move his wife and five children to Mosul, Iraq, which is under the control of the Islamic State.
If he wasn’t able to obtain a passport to travel because of his prior armed robbery conviction, Jonas Edmonds was willing to stage an attack in the United States and “unleash the lion,” the complaint quoted him as saying.
Edmonds told another FBI undercover agent he would purchase assault rifles and grenades to carry out the assault against the facility where his cousin had trained. He anticipated killing between 100 to 150 people, the complaint says.
Hasan Edmonds corrected his cousin, saying a more realistic count would be closer to 120. He said he would provide a list of officers to kill and a military uniform for his cousin to wear during the attack. . . .(read more)
Aurora cousins Hasan and Jonas Edmonds had been aspiring terrorists for months when they arrived at the Joliet Armory on Tuesday to scout out a brazen attack, federal authorities say.
In the car, Hasan Edmonds, a specialist with the Illinois National Guard who had trained at the facility since 2011, talked with his cousin and an accomplice about where the soldiers might be stationed inside, which rooms to avoid and the firepower that would be required, according to prosecutors.
Hasan then went into the low brick building to pick up a military training schedule for his cousin, who was going to carry out the attack later wearing his cousin’s uniform and carrying AK-47s and grenades, prosecutors said. If all went according to plan, the body count could reach 150. . . .
. . . . Hasan Edmonds, meanwhile, did not have a criminal record. Friends say he was a quiet student who ran track and excelled in physical education classes.
A high school classmate said Edmonds had said he wanted to be on active duty. He said it “blew me out of the water” when he found out about Edmonds’ arrest.
“He never said anything about crazy, radical ideas or anything like that,” he said. “He was just a normal kid. He was never a troublemaker.” . . .
. . . . In several online exchanges, Hasan Edmonds said that if he was unable to get to Syria he would stay in the U.S. and “fight and die here in the name of Allah,” according to the charges. In a message Jan. 30, he told the undercover agent that the best way to beat the U.S. and its Army was to “break their will,” according to the complaint.
“With the U.S., no matter how many you kill they will keep coming unless the soldiers and the American public no longer have the will to fight,” Edmonds wrote, according to the complaint. “If we can break their spirits we will win.”
On Feb. 2, Hasan Edmonds contacted the undercover agent again and said his cousin was willing to carry out the attack on U.S. soil.
“Honestly we would love to do something like the brother in Paris did,” Hasan Edmonds allegedly wrote in a reference to the January terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine’s headquarters in France in which 16 people were slain. . . . (read more)