A Brooklyn man arrested last year for disseminating terrorist propaganda and distributing bomb-making instructions pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the Department of Justice announced.
Zachary Clark, 41, who is also known by the names Umar Kabir, Umar Shishani, and Abu Talha, submitted his guilty plea in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.
Clark, who twice swore his allegiance to ISIS last year, began disseminating ISIS propaganda in March using encrypted chatrooms intended for “members, associates, supporters, and potential recruits of ISIS,” according to the charging documents.
Clark also served as an administrator in at least one of those encrypted chatrooms, was said to be one of “the most popular and well-known sources of ISIS media and recruitment propaganda online,” per the federal complaint. Among the materials posted by Clark were calls for ISIS supporters to commit “lone wolf” attacks in New York City. Some of the posts included specific instructions on how to carry out such an attack which included “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.”
According to the DOJ, on one occasion, Clark posted a manual entitled “Knife Attacks,” which implored supporters to overcome any fear associated with such attacks, writing, “the thought of plunging a sharp object into another person’s flesh” is “never an excuse for abandoning jihad.” A second al-Qaeda-produced manual posted by Clark was titled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom,” and included detailed instructions on how to construct an explosive devices with readily available supplies.
“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,” said Southern District of New York’s (SDNY) Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. “He also posted detailed instructions for carrying out those violent acts. Thanks to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Clark’s efforts to incite deadly violence on behalf of ISIS have been silenced, and he now awaits sentencing for his crimes.”
Judge Buchwald is scheduled to sentence Clark on Feb. 9. He is facing up to 20 years in federal prison.
[image via NBC News screengrab]
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