A Brooklyn man has pleaded guilty to inciting acts of terrorism, sharing guides on how to create home-made bombs for attacks in New York City and sharing subway maps as he instructed people in encrypted chat rooms on where exactly to attack.
Zachary Clark – who also goes by Umar Kabir, Umar Shishani, and Abu Talha – shared ISIS propaganda including a manual on knife attacks that stated the discomfort of stabbing someone is ‘never an excuse for abandoning jihad.’
Clark, 41, also posted a manual called ‘Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom,’ which was issued by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and included detailed instructions about constructing bombs using readily available materials.
He was arrested in November.
Clark entered his guilty plea to one count of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, on Monday.
The images above are some of the graphics Zachary Clark shared in encrypted chat rooms from at least March 2019 until his arrested in November
‘As he admitted in court today, Zachary Clark pledged allegiance to ISIS and posted calls for attacks on the public and institutions in New York on encrypted pro-ISIS chatrooms,’ Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
‘He also posted detailed instructions for carrying out those violent acts. Thanks to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Clark’s efforts to incite deadly violence on behalf of ISIS have been silenced, and he now awaits sentencing for his crimes.’
Authorities say he first pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in July 2019, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the leader, and then again in October 2019 after he was killed and Abu Ibrahim al-Sashemi al-Qurayshi took over.
In between that time, beginning in at least March 2019, Clark encouraged ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks in New York City through encrypted chatrooms intended for members, associates, supporters, and potential recruits.
Authorities claim that on August 3, 2019, Clark ‘posted instructions about how to conduct such an attack, including directions on how to select an attack target, how to conduct preoperational surveillance, how to conduct operational planning, and how to avoid attracting law enforcement attention when preparing for and conducting the attack.’
Pictured left is one of the posts Clark shared in the encrypted chat rooms. Clark shared NYC subway maps (right) as he instructed people on where exactly to attack
Authorities say he first pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in July 2019, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pictured) was the leader, and then again in October 2019 after he was killed and Abu Ibrahim al-Sashemi al-Qurayshi took over
They found that he distributed a manual title ‘Knife Attacks,’ which stated that discomfort at ‘the thought of plunging a sharp object into another person’s flesh’ is ‘never an excuse for abandoning jihad.’
The manual also stated that ‘[k]nives, though certainly not the only weapon for inflicting harm upon the kuffar [non-believers], are widely available in every land and thus readily accessible.’
‘Having pledged allegiance to ISIS, Clark provided specific instructions for how to conduct attacks in New York City, instructing others on knifing and bomb-making,’ Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said.
‘We must remain vigilant to the threat of terrorism. We must remain committed to identifying and holding accountable those who threaten our communities because of their support for foreign terrorist organizations.’
Clark scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Buchwald on February 9, 2021.
He could get a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
‘Today’s plea by Mr. Clark is yet one more example of the resolve of the FBI’s JTTF in New York, and our many law enforcement partners, to protect this city and our citizens from the danger of lone wolf attacks,’ FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said. ‘Many thanks to all of our partners who work side by side with us every day to neutralize threats of this nature.’
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said: ‘The defendant, by trying to support a designated foreign terrorist organization, represents the way New York City remains a top terrorist target. I commend the work of the NYPD investigators, the FBI agents, and the prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in bringing this case.’