Nicholas Young, a former police officer for the Washington, D.C., Metro transit system, was found guilty Monday of trying to help the Islamic State. A federal jury found Young, a 38-year-old Muslim convert, guilty of obstructing justice and offering financial support to a friend he thought had joined the terrorist organization.
A former police officer for the Washington, D.C., Metro transit system was found guilty Monday of trying to help the Islamic State, making him the first law enforcement officer nationwide to be convicted in a terrorism case, the Washington Post reports. Nicholas Young, a 38-year-old Muslim convert from Alexandria, Va., faces up to 60 years in prison. After only a few hours of deliberation, a federal jury found he obstructed justice and offered financial support to a friend he thought had joined the terrorist organization. In fact, the man was an undercover informant who befriended Young as part of an FBI sting operation. “Nicholas Young swore an oath to protect and defend, and instead violated the public’s trust by attempting to support ISIS,” said U.S. Attorney Dana Boente.
Young was under FBI scrutiny for six of the 13 years he patrolled the public transportation system. He used his vacation time to join the civil war in Libya in 2011, leaving the FBI wondering whether he fought with a terrorist group, and watched Islamic State videos while on break. He was commended by one U.S. attorney’s office for his work as a police officer, only to be investigated by another. He may be the first person convicted of backing the Islamic State to consider himself a conservative, venerate former congressman Ron Paul, and express interest in joining the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The paradox at the heart of the trial was Young’s interest in both Islamic radicalism and Nazism. Young dressed up as an SS officer in World War II reenactments and had a tattoo on his arm celebrating his unit. He also collected literature advocating violent jihad and watched Islamic State videos. Prosecutors believe that virulent anti-Semitism connected the two seemingly incompatible forms of extremism.