Jonathan Xie, 20, of Basking Ridge, NJ, appeared in federal court in Newark later in the day to face charges that include attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, making false statements and transmitting a threat in interstate commerce
According to court records, Xie thought about joining the Army, quoting him as saying he wanted "to learn how to kill... So I can use that knowledge."
He allegedly appeared in an Instagram Live video last month in which he stated he was against Zionism and the neo-liberal establishment. In the same video he displayed a Hamas flag, retrieved a handgun and stated "I'm gonna go to the (expletive) pro-Israel march and I'm going to shoot everybody."
In another Instagram post court records quoted Xie as saying "I want to shoot the pro-Israel demonstrators...you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people... all you need is a gun or a vehicle to go on a rampage..."
Xie's social media accounts were loaded with terror propaganda, the FBI said, and declarations of support for Bashar al Assad, Saddam Hussein and North Korea.
Around April 20, 2019, FBI surveillance observed Xie outside of the Trump Tower building in New York City.
Shortly thereafter, according to Instagram records, Xie posted two photos to his Instagram account: One with the words "I want to bomb Trump Tower" imposed over the building image and the other with the words "(S)hould I bomb Trump Tower," a "Yes No" poll, and an emoji of a bomb imposed over the Trump Tower building image.
Xie subsequently posted on Instagram, "Okay, so I went to NYC today and passed by Trump Tower and then I started laughing hysterically . . . I forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC . . .i want to bomb this place along with Trump Tower."
Authorities raided Xie's home Wednesday, to see how much they could learn about his possible terrorist ambitions.
"At any time was there a threat to New York City from this case, based on the briefings we're receiving in real time, I would say the proper controlling features were in place to be able to say no," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller
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