30-year-old Mohamed Elshinawy was arrested on Friday after an F.B.I. investigation of his finances and online communications concluded that he was receiving money from ISIS to wage an attack on U.S. soil. However, Elshinawy states that the money was not for an attack, and that he was instead “trying to scam some money” from ISIS. According to Times, the bulk of his “scammed” $8,700 was spent on cellphones, calling cards and a laptop:
The money he got was intended “to conduct an attack on U.S. soil,” said John P. Carlin, the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for national security.
Appearing on Monday in Federal District Court in Maryland, Mr. Elshinawy did not contest his temporary jailing without bail. A lawyer representing him declined to comment on the charges.
“We consider this to be at an early stage of the process, and we hope the public withholds judgment,” said the lawyer, Joseph A. Balter, who is a deputy federal public defender in Baltimore.(via)
Elshinawy even went so far to tell the F.B.I. that they should “laud him for his work and give him a job in terrorist financing.” In other words, the guy’s got balls of steel and would be a TOP TIER ISIS recruit if he hadn’t decided “scamming” money was a better route to take, assuming that’s true (it’s probably not).
To Elshinawy’s credit though, an anonymous law enforcement official did admit “He showed a level of tradecraft that we haven’t seen in many other cases.”