What to Know
- NY man faces 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS and distributing bomb-making instructions, feds say
- According to the criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, Zachary Clark, 40, pledged allegiance to ISIS twice in 2019
- Clark shared propaganda including calls for ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks in New York City, prosecutors say
A Brooklyn man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to attempting to provide material support to ISIS and distributing bomb-making instructions, according to federal prosecutors.
"As he admitted in court today, Zachary Clark pledged allegiance to ISIS and posted calls for attacks on the public and institutions in New York on encrypted pro-ISIS chatrooms. He also posted details instructions for carrying out those violent acts," Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a release.
According to the criminal complaint filed in November in Manhattan federal court, Zachary Clark, 40, pledged allegiance to ISIS twice in 2019.
The complaint says that beginning in at least March 2019, Clark distributed ISIS propaganda through encrypted chatrooms intended for members, associates, supporters and potential recruits of ISIS. One of the chatrooms for which he served as administrator "was among the most popular and well-known sources of ISIS media and recruitment propaganda online," the complaint says.
Among Clark’s alleged propaganda were calls for ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks in New York City.
The complaint also says that Clark shared directions on how to select an attack target, how to conduct pre-operational surveillance, how to conduct operational planning and how to avoid attracting law enforcement attention when preparing for and conducting the attack.
On another occasion, according to the complaint, Clark posted a manual entitled “Knife Attacks,” which stated that discomfort at “the thought of plunging a sharp object into another person’s flesh” is “never an excuse for abandoning jihad” and that “[k]nives, though certainly not the only weapon for inflicting harm upon the kuffar [non-believers,] are widely available in every land and thus readily accessible.”
Clark’s guidance allegedly also included posting a manual entitled “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom,” which provided detailed instructions about constructing an explosive device — and he urged suicide bombings among other attacks. Officials also said said he posted maps and images of the New York City subway system and encouraged Islamic State supporters to attack it.
Clark was arrested in Brooklyn and charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Clark is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2021.
Attorney information for Clark was not clear. Authorities said the investigation relied on FBI employees working online in an undercover capacity, law enforcement members posing as representatives of the Islamic State group and two informants who were paid by the FBI and posed as group members.