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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Man Arrested on Explosives Charge In Washington State Visited Jihadist Forums, Read AQAP Inspire

A Washington state man arrested on bomb charges Monday was a reader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's "Inspire" Engligh-language magazine and sought to make contacts with terrorist through jihadist forums.

The arrest comes in the wake of heightened concerns about homegrown terrorism due to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Joey Brice, 21, of Clarkston, Wash., was taken into custody Monday after a search warrant was executed at his home. According to local news reports, agents removed several bags of evidence from his home.

In April 2010, Brice detonated an improvised explosive device using several components commonly found in terrorist bomb recipes. The device detonated prematurely, severely injuring Brice. The bomb formed the basis for the grand jury indictment which led to his arrest this week. Brice was previously convicted of possessing a loaded firearm without a permit and minor drug charges.

An affidavit in support of the search warrant on Brice's house and other properties was unsealed this week and obtained by INTELWIRE. It reveals significant new information about Brice's activities including extensive interest in jihadist online forums and propaganda.

However, the affidavit does not clearly indicate whether Brice was a would-be jihadist (or even a Muslim), or simply a would-be serial bomber. In addition to his dalliances with online jihadists, Brice posted comments and contents related to Timothy McVeigh and the attempted Martin Luther King Day bombing in Spokane, Wash. The unifying thread in his activities appears to be explosives.

Nevertheless, he found much content of interest among jihadist sources, including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's "Inspire" Engligh-language magazine. In online postings, Brice made references to an Inspire article titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom," among others.

Brice tried to reach out to jihadists online. After posting messages to various people online that he was interested in a jihadist forums where he could discuss moving "from knowledge to action," he received a message from someone named Binyamine suggesting "try your luck at [Ansar Al Mujahideen]," a well-known jihadist forum with links to real-world terrorists and an English-language section. Brice also visited a less significant jihadist site known as Deen Al Haq.

Brice also maintained a YouTube account under the name "StrengthofAllah," according to media reports and the affidavit. The account was used to upload videos of explosive devices being used in the Clarkston area. Some of the videos were labeled with the logo of Al Qaeda in Iraq and featured nasheeds (jihadist war chants) as soundtracks.

The videos showed explosive devices similar to the one that injured Brice in 2010 and showed test detonations at the same location where Brice had been injured. Another video showed an IED used to destroy a house somewhere outside of the U.S. The StrengthofAllah account was also used to upload videos celebrating martyrdom and encouraging jihad against the United States. Brice closed the account in January 2011.

Commenting on a video about the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Brice wrote, "As long as it's one more dead American kuffar, what difference does it make to me if she is a democrat or gop?"

Other users commenting on the video called StrengthofAllah "f--ing stupid and delusional," and accused him of being a right-wing Zionist posing as a Muslim online. "I hate Jews," Brice responded laconically.

Brice often posted under Arab- or Muslim-sounding names, but also under the names John Doe, Joe, or Joey. He also took part in a wide variety of online activities oriented toward violence, including prolific posts on a Web site called the Young News Channel, which features violent videos and extreme pornography. According to the affidavit, Brice was listed as a "super moderator" for the site.

For more about American jihadists, order Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go To War In The Name Of Islam, the new book by INTELWIRE's J.M. Berger.

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Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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