A newlywed couple was arrested Thursday after they expressed interest to undercover cops that they wanted to help the Islamic State.
The Associated Press reported that 20-year-old James Bradley and his wife, 29-year-old Arwa Muthana, were arrested at Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in New Jersey, where they were trying to board a cargo ship that they believed would take them to Yemen, where they could assist ISIS terrorists. The couple was charged with “attempting and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
More from the AP:
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement that the couple’s “plans to wage attacks against the United States have been thwarted.”
Bradley, of the Bronx, expressed support for IS and spoke of his desire to join the group overseas in recorded conversations over the course of nearly a year with an undercover enforcement officer, prosecutors said. Bradley also spoke to the undercover officer who led him to the ship about potentially attacking the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, prosecutors said.
A complaint outlining the charges against Bradley and Muthana does not mention the defendants discussing their intentions with IS or others beyond the two undercover law enforcement officers.
Bradley sought transit to the Middle East by cargo ship because he feared he might have been on a terrorist watch list, prosecutors said.
The couple was married in January and had both previously expressed interest in assisting ISIS. Bradley in 2019 had made plans to travel to Afghanistan to attack American soldiers on behalf of the Taliban, but scrapped the plans due to ideological differences with the person who was supposed to go with him. That person was eventually arrested.
Muthana also previously discussed assisting ISIS with Bradley, even planning to travel together in their quest. When she was arrested, the AP reported, “she waived her right to remain silent and said she was willing to fight and kill Americans.”
“After traveling to Alabama to visit Muthana, prosecutors said, Bradley approached the undercover officer with the idea of traveling on a cargo ship to join IS. The officer connected Bradley with a ‘facilitator’ — another undercover officer — and Bradley paid that person $1,000 in cash for travel costs, prosecutors said,” the AP reported. “Bradley told that officer that he and Muthana planned to be ‘fighting’ upon arrival Yemen and that he’d had a dream that he had given an oath of allegiance to IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi prosecutors said.”
Strauss’ full statement:
James Bradley allegedly pledged devout allegiance to ISIS, expressing his desire to ‘fight among the rank[s] for the Islamic State.’ Suspecting he may be unable to travel, Bradley instead allegedly discussed conducting terrorist attacks along with his wife, Arwa Muthana, also an ISIS supporter, against the US Military Academy at West Point or another area university where Bradley knew military recruits to be training. But in an alleged attempt to evade the watchful eye of law enforcement, the two ultimately planned to travel to Yemen by cargo ship to fulfil their wish to fight with the terrorist organization. As Bradley suspected, he and his wife were indeed on law enforcement’s radar – he was confiding in and planning their journey for terror with an undercover officer – and their plans to wage attacks against the United States have been thwarted.
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