Former U. S. Air Force Veteran Charged With Trying to Join ISIS In Syria

A flag of the Islamic State (IS) is seen on the other side of a bridge at the frontline of fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Islamist militants in Rashad, on the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, on Sept. 11, 2014. AFP/Getty Images
A flag of the Islamic State (IS) is seen on the other side of a bridge at the frontline of fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Islamist militants in Rashad, on the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, on Sept. 11, 2014. AFP/Getty Images

A former U.S. Air Force veteran has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly trying to join ISIS, the brutal terrorist group wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, after watching their online propaganda videos, authorities announced today.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh — who is from New Jersey but had been living overseas for years — was secretly arrested two months ago after being deported back to the United States.

On Jan. 10, he flew from Egypt to Turkey hoping to slip into Syria and “fight violent jihad” with ISIS, but Turkish authorities refused to let him enter their country, federal prosecutors say in court documents filed in Brooklyn, N.Y., authorities said.

Egyptian authorities then deported Pugh to the United States, where he was arrested by the FBI and found to be carrying multiple electronic devices, including a cell phone that allegedly contained a photograph of a machine gun. Some of the data on the electronic devices had been deleted, prosecutors say.

On his laptop, FBI agents discovered that he had been viewing ISIS propaganda online and conducting online searches for such phrases as “borders controlled by Islamic state,” “kobani border crossing,” and “who controls kobani,” according to prosecutors.

In addition, the FBI recovered two of Pugh’s backpacks, which allegedly contained two compasses, a solar-powered flashlight, a solar-powered power source, a fatigue jacket and camping clothes.

A month before his alleged attempt to join ISIS, Pugh was fired from his job as an airplane mechanic in Kuwait, according to court documents. He learned how to install and maintain aircraft engines, navigation systems and weapons systems while serving in the Air Force from 1986 to 1990, the documents say.

According to court documents, he “appears to have close ties to a woman in Egypt whom he has identified as his wife.”

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SOURCE: ABC News

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