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Young Man Was Radicalized By ISIS And Planned An Attack - Gets Life Behind Bars

One of the scarier aspects of dealing with terrorism comes from the fact that we never know when an attack is going to happen. That ratchets up the fear tenfold, and terrorists thrive on creating an environment that leaves others on edge. By extension, the fear is also compounded by the fact that we never know exactly who is going to be carrying out an attack. While some people have been clearly identified and labeled as jihadists, there are plenty of other radicalized people that fly under the radar.

Intelligence officials and agents deal with that reality each and every day, and they’ll follow any leads that point them to a potential trouble spot. Sometimes, they’re fortunate enough to have one fall into their laps. That’s what happened in this case, as a father in North Carolina was forced to call the cops on his own son, who was destroying religious items in the family’s home.

As the Daily Mail shares, that led to an investigation into Justin Nojan Sullivan, 21. Lo and behold, Sullivan had become radicalized after watching terrorist beheadings and other Islamic State propaganda online. Even more disturbingly, it was discovered that he was plotting his own attack so that he could film and distribute it.

Investigators began looking into Sullivan after the disturbing call from his father. As the investigation moved forward, it was discovered that he had been making contact online with Junaid Hussain, a now-deceased prominent Islamic State recruiter and propagandist in Syria. Sullivan had planned to purchase a semi-automatic rifle that he would use to kill hundreds of people at a concert or nightclub in the area.

“They know this is a way to win the hearts and minds of American youth or those who may be disenfranchised in some way,” explained US Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose. “Certainly the use of social media by foreign terrorist organizations, particularly ISIS, is one of the ways that they're most effective.”

Prior to his arrest, Sullivan was caught up in a sting involving an undercover FBI agent. Sullivan offered to pay the agent, who he thought was an ISIS sympathizer, to kill his own parents out of fear that they would put a stop to his planned terror attack. He would also specifically discuss his plans online with an undercover agent, and he attempted to recruit the agent to help him out.

Sullivan was arrested at his parents' house soon thereafter. In addition to his arrest for the foiled terror plot, Sullivan has also been accused of shooting his neighbor to death and stealing the man’s money to fund his activities. Charges on that are pending, but he has pleaded guilty to the terror plot.

That guilty plea did not result in any kind of leniency from the sentencing judge, as he has just been slapped with a life sentence. The case is another chilling reminder that radicalization of US citizens is a very real thing. Perhaps Sullivan’s life sentence will act as some kind of deterrent, but don’t expect it to have any kind of impact on recruiting efforts by terror groups.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: WNCN-TV

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