Trial Starts in the US Case of Nazi-Jihadist
Former DC Metro Transit Police officer Nicholas Young had unusual political views, a federal prosecutor told jurors in Young’s terrorist trial — which started on Monday.
He “was attracted to Nazis and Islamic terrorists at the same time,” US prosecutor Gordon Kromberg said in his opening statement. “Both hate Jews.”
Young, a 36-year-old Muslim convert and resident of Fairfax, Virginia, is charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and the obstruction of justice.
According to court filings, Young gave misleading statements to Federal agents when interviewed about the whereabouts of a close associate who Young believed had traveled to Syria to join ISIS. Young also tried to give his associate gift cards codes to help ISIS recruit new members.
Young had been a Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officer since 2003. He drew investigators’ attention after a September 2010 interview with FBI agents, in connection with the arrest of an acquaintance, Zachary Chesser.
In 2011, Chesser was sentenced to 25 years in prison for communicating threats against the writers of the South Park television show, and for attempting to provide material support to the Somali terrorist group, Al-Shabaab.
Young used an Israeli flag as a doormat in his home, and his phone featured a picture of billowing smokestacks with the caption, “Together we can finish what Hitler started,” Kromberg told jurors in the Eastern District of Virginia. Young has an SS tattoo on his shoulder, and after attending a neo-Nazi gathering, said, “Don’t discount an alliance with Muslims to combat the Jews.”
A search of Young’s home and computer uncovered an “intense interest in terrorism — of the Nazi variety,” and included a photo of Young and his associates in their Nazi SS uniforms in front of a Nazi flag; a picture of the swastika imposed on an Israeli flag with the caption “The Greatest Devil”; and a cartoon depicting a pig with the face of a stereotypical Jew, titled “Jewish swine.”
Young’s Internet browser featured bookmarks for antisemitic, neo-Nazi and pro-Hitler websites, along with sites related to Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and other radical Islamists.
“The FBI induced Nicholas Young, a distinguished officer, to commit a crime that they created,” lead defense attorney Linda Moreno said in her opening statement. “Nick Young never spoke to anyone in ISIS, never contacted anyone in ISIS.”
To get past this entrapment defense, prosecutors will have to show that Young was inclined to violence before his first contact with federal agents in 2010. The Nazi evidence becomes critical to the government’s case, because it predates Young’s attraction to Islamist terrorism.
Young traveled to Libya twice in 2011, and associated with rebels attempting to overthrow the Muammar Qaddafi regime. Authorities found body armor, a Kevlar helmet and several other military-style items in Young’s baggage. Young also told a confidential informant that he served with the “Abo Salem Suhada Brigade” in Libya, which is a reference to the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade that has Al Qaeda ties.
Young went to Libya because he was inspired by the Arab Spring, Moreno said, arguing that his conduct was legal — and that her client openly talked to federal authorities about his trips to Libya because he was proud of them.