U.S. Has Charged 100 People with ISIS-Related Crimes Since March 2014

Metro Transit police officer is the most recent person facing ISIS-related offenses, according to GW’s Program on Extremism.

August 4, 2016

Program on Extremism

Graphic from GW Program on Extremism

A Metro Transit Police officer arrested last Wednesday by the FBI in Washington, D.C., is the 100th person charged with ISIS-related offenses in the United States, according to updated research from the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

The number of persons charged in the United States since March 2014, when the Program on Extremism began monitoring the cases, increased from 91 to 99 in July 2016. The 100th individual charged was identified on Aug. 3.

The arrest last Wednesday of Nicholas Young, who had been a uniformed officer with the Metro Transit Police since 2003, is the first time that a law enforcement officer has faced charges related to terrorism.

Seamus Hughes, deputy director of GW’s Program on Extremism, said that while the charges against a law enforcement officer are a first, they are not too surprising.

“Those who have been charged with ISIS-related crimes come from all walks of life including government employers, doctors and other professions,” Mr. Hughes said. “The issue with ISIS recruitment is that there is not a typical profile. There is no cookie-cutter image.”

Mr. Young, of Fairfax, Va., had been under surveillance by federal law enforcement for seven years, according to The Washington Post. He was charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The GW Extremism Tracker continuously monitors cases in the United States that included criminal charges related to ISIS. It is regularly updated to identify new cases and monitor past cases with new information.

According to the latest analysis of cases, the average age of charged individuals was 26, arrests occurred in 25 states and their average prison sentence—once the cases were adjudicated—was 10.1 years.

Additionally, 46 percent were accused of traveling or attempting to travel abroad, 30 percent were accused of plotting domestic terror attacks and 58 percent were arrested in an operation involving an informant and/or an undercover agent. The researchers also found that 46 individuals have pleaded or were found guilty in the U.S. legal system.

The GW Extremism Tracker compiles research in a series of monthly updates produced by the Program on Extremism, following a first-of-its-kind report that offered the most extensive examination to date of Americans arrested for sympathizing with ISIS. The organization also collected and shared more than 7,000 legal documents related to the arrests.