AP NEWS

Brooklyn man charged with encouraging NYC subway attacks

November 27, 2019 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — A Brooklyn man was arrested Wednesday on charges that he tried to help the Islamic State group, in part by encouraging attacks on New York’s subway system.

Zachary Clark, 40, was detained after an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court, where a criminal complaint accused Clark of providing instructions on how to plan attacks on U.S. soil and encouraging Islamic State group supporters to attack well-populated areas.

Jonathan Marvinny, an attorney who represented Clark in court, declined comment.

“As alleged, Clark championed his support for ISIS, disseminated hate-filled messages via encrypted chatrooms, and encouraged like-minded individuals to carry out vicious attacks in the name of jihad,” said William F. Sweeney Jr., head of the FBI’s New York office.

James P. O’Neill, commissioner of the New York Police Department, said in a release that the arrest was “a reminder that New York City remains a top terrorism target in the United States.”

According to the complaint, Clark since at least March had spread propaganda and other information supporting Islamic State group terrorism and called on others to carry out violence, including suicide bombings and “lone-wolf” attacks in the United States and elsewhere.

The complaint said the FBI has a video in which Clark pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in July. It said he again pledged allegiance, this time in an electronic message, to the group’s new leader after its longtime leader was killed in October.

Authorities said the investigation relied on FBI employees working online in an undercover capacity, law enforcement members posing as representatives of the Islamic State group and two informants who were paid by the FBI and posed as group members.

The complaint said Clark posted a manual online on how to build a bomb as he seemed to encourage nearly 200 followers to his pro-Islamic State web channel to carry out an attack on the New York City subway.

It said he also posted a graphic depicting an image of a masked Islamic State group fighter holding President Donald Trump in an orange jumpsuit. The complaint said it was an altered version of a well-known photograph of an Islamic State member holding a prisoner shortly before killing him.

Clark was charged with providing material support to IS and distributing information relating to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.