Terrence J. McNeil, 24, has pleaded guilty to soliciting the murder of U.S. military members,
according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
McNeil, of Akron, Ohio, pleaded guilty to five counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence and five counts of making threatening interstate communications.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja for the Northern District of Ohio and Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Cleveland investigated the case, according to the DOJ release.
“Terrence McNeil pleaded guilty to soliciting the murder of members of our military,” Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord said in the Wednesday release. “He disseminated ISIL’s violent rhetoric, circulated U.S. military personnel information, and explicitly called for the killing of American service members in their homes and communities. Now, he will be held accountable.”
McNeil, a U.S. citizen who had pledged allegiance to ISIS on social media numerous times, made posts regarding ISIS efforts to target military personnel in September 2015. On the social media site Tumblr, McNeil posted files with banners reading “Islamic State Hacking Division,” followed by “Target: United States Military” and “Leak: Addresses of 100 U.S. Military Personnel.”
“This case demonstrates the challenges faced by law enforcement in confronting global terrorism,” Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja said in the release. “It highlights the dangers posed by terrorists committed to carrying out attacks here in the United States and their use of social media to accomplish their mission. The message should be clear that individuals who engage in this behavior will be aggressively prosecuted.”
The following is an excerpt from one of the files shared by McNeil:
“O Brothers in America, know that the jihad against the crusaders is not limited to the lands of the Khilafah, it is a world-wide jihad and their war is not just a war against the Islamic State, it is a war against Islam…Know that it is wajib (translated to “necessary”) for you to kill these kuffar! and now we have made it easy for you by giving you addresses, all you need to do is take the final step, so what are you waiting for? Kill them in their own lands, behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their streets thinking that they are safe …”
The file includes images purported to be of U.S. military personnel, along with their names, addresses and military branch.
“While we aggressively defend First Amendment rights, the individual arrested went far beyond free speech by reposting names and addresses of 100 U.S. service members, all with the intent to have them killed,” said Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division.
Sentencing for McNeil is scheduled for Aug. 2. Under the terms of his plea deal, he faces 15 to 20 years in federal prison.
Prosecuting the case are Assistant U.S. Attorney Christos Georgalis and Michelle Baeppler for the Northern District of Ohio, with assistance from Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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