FBI Investigation Leads to Charges Against a US Veteran that Tried to Join ISIS

Since ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) poses one of the gravest threats to US security of our time, the efforts of certain American citizens that attempt to aid them is particularly disturbing. The FBI acts aggressively to identify these terrorists before they cause harm to our country.

One recent success was the delivery of a set of indictments against US Air Force Veteran Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh by a federal grand jury on March 16, 2015. Intelligence efforts spearheaded by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) led to the arrest of Pugh in January 2015.

Recently fired from his job as an airplane mechanic, Pugh left Egypt for Turkey in early 2015 with plans to travel to Syria and join ISIS. Fortunately, Turkish authorities thwarted his efforts to enter the country and returned him to Egypt.

Egyptian authorities found suspicious electronic devises in Pugh’s possessions and deported him to the US. On American soil, JTTF agents found records of highly suspicious Internet searches on his computer including detail on how to cross from Turkey into ISIS-controlled territory in Syria. Warrants to search Pugh’s backpacks from overseas revealed telling items such as pieces of broken USB thumb drives, camping clothes, and solar-powered items.

Thus, the FBI has proof that Pugh was doing his best to join ISIS and help them fight against the West. He joins the list of 180 Americans that have been identified trying to fight on the side of ISIS in Syria according to National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

The FBI could not have succeeded in this operation without the help of numerous law enforcement agencies and acknowledged the superb assistance of:

  • The US Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey
  • US Customs and Border Protection
  • New Jersey Police Departments:
    • Asbury Park
    • Neptune
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