KEY POINTS

  • Zachary Clark pledged allegiance to the militant group twice last year
  • He disseminated ISIS propaganda through encrypted chatrooms
  • He posted a manual entitled "Knife Attacks"

New York man accused of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has pleaded guilty.

According to the press release from the Department of Justice, the accused, identified as Zachary Clark, pledged allegiance to the militant group twice last year. In March 2019, Clark "disseminated ISIS propaganda through, among other avenues, encrypted chatrooms intended for members, associates, supporters, and potential recruits of ISIS."

"Clark’s propaganda included, among other things, calls for ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks in New York City.  For example, on Aug. 3, 2019, Clark posted instructions about how to conduct such an attack, including directions on how to select an attack target, how to conduct preoperational surveillance, how to conduct operational planning, and how to avoid attracting law enforcement attention when preparing for and conducting the attack," the press release stated.

On another occasion last year, the accused posted a manual entitled "Knife Attacks." Apart from this, he also asked the participants in encrypted chatrooms "to attack specific targets, posting maps and images of the New York City subway system and encouraging ISIS supporters to attack those locations," the press release stated.

The 41-year-old Brooklyn man pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. This carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in the press release, "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 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."

Speaking about the case, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, said, "Having pledged allegiance to ISIS, Clark provided specific instructions for how to conduct attacks in New York City, instructing others on knifing and bomb-making. We must remain vigilant to the threat of terrorism.  We must remain committed to identifying and holding accountable those who threaten our communities because of their support for foreign terrorist organizations."

No information was available regarding Clark's attorney. Undercover FBI employees and law enforcement members posing as representatives of the militant group helped carry out the investigation.

Clark is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 9, 2021, for his sentencing.

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