While the Obama administration fumbles with ISIS on the battlefields of the middle east, the FBI has a firm strategy at home: Arrest anyone supporting or trying to support the terror group.
That's exactly what the agency did on Friday when it arrested a northeast Ohio man, alleging he attempted to provide support to the Islamic State terrorist group while residing in the Cleveland area.
Amir Said Abdul Rahman Al-Ghazi, 38, was arrested in the suburb of North Olmsted while attempting to purchase an AK-47 assault rifle from an undercover FBI agent, according to the criminal complaint. An FBI affidavit said Al-Ghazi had chatted with confidential informants about buying the rifle for use in an ISIS recruiting video.
Al-Ghazi used to be known as Robert McCollum, but changed his name earlier this year. During a search of Al-Ghazi's apartment on Friday agents found a sword and an Islamic State flag.
Al-Ghazi, according to the charges, began using social media in July 2014 to pledge his support to the militant group and to recruit people to join the group.
While chatting online with FBI sources the man made remarks that he wanted to stage terrorist attacks in the U.S., such as the derailment of a train, according to the sworn affidavit by FBI agents.
In shocking remarks to undercover FBI agents Al-Ghazi said he wasn't interested in a suicide attack, but did say would cut off the head of his non-Muslim son if Muslims were to go to war in America.
On another occasion he told undercover agents that he wanted to kill non-Muslims and said in an online chat: "You don't fear death anymore its like walking thru a door for a martyr u know."
Stephen Anthony, the agent in charge of the Cleveland FBI field office, said in a statement that "it is clear that no area is immune from the influence of ISIL [ISIS] and its recruitment machine. We hope this arrest will serve as a strong message to others who may consider providing support to terrorists."
An FBI spokeswoman said at this stage in the investigation there is no evidence that Al-Ghazi traveled to the Middle East.
Robert McCollum, Al-Ghazi's previous legal name, had a criminal history in Cleveland for drug offenses and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Also included in the indictment is an allegation he sold nearly 4.5 pounds of marijuana to a confidential informant starting in February 2014.
Al-Ghazi has been under surveillance by the FBI since the fall of 2013, following a complaint to the FBI about Al-Ghazi's online activity.
It is estimate that ISIS has thousands of members like Al-Ghazi in the United States, who recruit and do other low level tasks for the terror group. The man is the second charged by the FBI, who promised more arrests in the coming weeks and months.
The fact Al-Ghazi was under surveillance for over two years show that the FBI is deeply connected to the online terrorist underworld and likely has a number of suspects it is poised to arrest.
The FBI refused to discuss such plans, citing ongoing operations.