A New Jersey resident was arrested Wednesday for threatening to blow up Trump Tower and the Israeli consulate in New York City as well as numerous other terrorism-related charges, the US Department of Justice announced.
Jonathan Xie, 20, of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, was charged with "attempting to provide material support to Hamas, lying on his application to enlist in the U.S. Army, and making a threat against pro-Israel supporters," the Department said.
Last month, Xie posted a video on Istagram in which he brandished a handgun and displayed a Hamas flag. “I’m gonna go to the [expletive] pro-Israel march and I’m going to shoot everybody.” He also expressed his desire to go to Gaza to join Hamas.
Xie stated in subsequent Instagram posts., “I want to shoot the pro-israel demonstrators . . . you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people . . . all you need is a gun or vehicle to go on a rampage . . . I do not care if security forces come after me, they will have to put a bullet in my head to stop me.”
In 2018 he sent $100 to a man in Gaza he believed to be a member of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization.
In February Xie wrote that he wanted to join the American military so that he could receive training to carry out attacks. He posted a message saying that he wanted to "bomb Trump Tower" on April 20. He later posted another message saying that he "forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC . . .i want to bomb this place along with trump tower.”
“Homegrown violent extremists like Xie are a serious threat to national security,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “The actions that he took and planned to take made that threat both clear and present, and we commend our law enforcement partners for working closely with us to stop him before he could carry out his plans to commit violence on American soil. We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our country and its citizens from the threat of terrorism, whether that threat comes from abroad or – as here – from within.”
“The FBI remains vigilant in its efforts to protect the public from those who support terrorist groups and ideologies,” Special Agent in Charge Ehrie said. “Thanks to the hard work and determination of our agents and their law enforcement partners on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, this defendant’s further support to terrorism was disrupted and a threat to the safety of our community was averted. This case also illustrates the value of public awareness and participation. When you report suspicious activity, you become a force multiplier in the mission to keep America safe.”
“The FBI is committed to stopping anyone who attempts to assist terrorist organizations or who threatens to commit acts of violence in our communities,” said Assistant Director McGarrity, FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism. “The threat from homegrown violent extremists who self-radicalize remains persistent. While more Americans may be familiar with ISIS, we take seriously those who wish to help any designated terrorist organization. I commend the hard work of the Newark Joint Terrorism Task Force on this case.”
The Department of Justice said that "each count of attempt to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of making false statements related to international and domestic terrorism carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce carries a penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine."