As Courthouse News reports, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has sentenced Amer Sinan Alhaggagi, who plotted with ISIS to kill 10,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area, to 15 years in prison. Alhaggagi’s attorneys argued that their client was just an online blowhard but Breyer wasn’t having it.
“His words were very dangerous,” Breyer said. “Words matter.”
According to ABC News, Alhaggagi told a confidential source “I live close to San Francisco, that’s like the gay capital of the world. I’m going to handle them right, LOL. I’m going to place a bomb in a gay club, Wallah or by God, I’m going to tear up the city. The whole Bay Area is going to be up in flames.” Alhaggagi also plotted to kill gays by distributing cocaine laced with rat poison.
As Fox News reported, Alhaggagi opened several Twitter and Facebook accounts for ISIS supporters. He then allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that he wanted to kill 10,000 people in the Bay Area and brought three backpacks to be used in a future attack.
His attorney Mary McNamara told reporters Alhaggagi was “a young guy who is immature, said some stupid things online,” and that the FBI “sent out their best people to try to get a sting operation going.” A statement from Alhaggagi’s family claimed “Amer is not a terrorist or a violent person, but a young man born and raised in California who said many foolish things on the Internet. Amer did not commit or plan a violent act.” The FBI didn’t see it that way.
Last year FBI Special Agent John Bennett told ABC News it was not online puffery but “a case of grave importance for us. This was a clear and present danger for public safety here in the Bay Area.” Last year, with members of California’s Yemeni community looking on, the West Oakland resident pleaded guilty to supporting a foreign terrorist organization, possession of device-making equipment and fraud.
In similar style, former U.S. Marine Everitt Jameson, of Modesto, planned to use pipe bombs to channel victims into part of San Francisco’s Pier 39 so he could shoot them. He pledged loyalty to ISIS and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and offered to use the skills he had learned in the Marines. Last year, Jameson drew a sentence of 15 years.
Nicholas Teausant, a National Guard reject from Modesto, wanted to bomb a “Zionist” day care center, join “Allah’s army,” and fight for ISIS in Syria. The FBI arrested Teausant as he traveled to Canada, where he had booked a flight for Syria. In 2016 Teausant was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Hamid Hamyat of Lodi, California, was convicted in 2006 for aiding terrorists and lying to the FBI. In 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction and in 2014 U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell denied Hayat’s motion for summary judgment to vacate his conviction.
Hamyat’s attorney Wazhma Mojaddidi denied that she was to blame for losing the case. U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes submitted a 116-page recommendation that Hayat’s conviction be vacated. In January, Barnes allowed Hayat’s family members to testify by video from Pakistan.
The case returns to Judge Garland Burrell, who already denied the motion to vacate Hayat’s conviction. The convicted terrorist collaborator is due for release in May 2026. If Amer Sinan Alhaggagi serves his full sentence, he would be released in 2034.
As the cases confirm, California remains a target for terrorists. The FBI was not able to prevent the 2015 attack in San Bernardino, in which Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 innocents and wounded more than 20 others. Local police shot dead both terrorists.