ISIS isn't just a mid-east phenomenon, stuck in the middle of the Iraqi dessert. They're a global movement that uses sophisticated propaganda and outreach to engage disenfranchised Muslims everywhere, including right here in America.
The latest evidence of this is a Virginia teenager that pleaded guilty to using Twitter to help members of the terrorist group learn how to use Bitcoin.
Ali Shukri Amin, 17, admitted Thursday that he owned the Twitter account @Amreekiwitness, using it to provide his 4,000 followers with instructions on how to use the world’s dominant online cryptocurrency.
His activities principally taught ISIS supporters how to set up a Bitcoin wallet so that they could donate to the radical Islamists. He also offered more advanced tips on his blog, such as how to launder the funds to avoid an audit trail.
He now faces 15 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support and resources to a terrorist organization.
Amin was an honor student at Osbourn Park High School in Manassas prior to his March 4th arrest.
In his guilty plea he also admitted to helping 18 year old Virginian Reza Niknejad with traveling to Syria to join ISIS.
The Department of Justice did not comment on whether Amin will be charged as a juvenile or an adult.
“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to [ISIS] will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms” said U.S. Attorney Dana Boente.
The case highlights just how pervasive ISIS has become. While based in the desserts of Iraq and Syria, the group has additional full-fledged operations in Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It also is suspected of having thousands of supporters ready to commit violent acts around the world and has hundreds of thousands of social media followers.