Air Force veteran tried joining ISIS

As some American veterans volunteer to go to the front lines to fight ISIS, Air Force veteran Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh faced a grand jury indictment for attempting to aid ISIS. Pugh attempted to join the extremely radical causes of ISIS by flying from Egypt to Turkey, where officials sent him back to America because they suspected he planned to join ISIS.

Investigators found a letter written by Pugh pledging to defend the Islamic States, and his computer contained propaganda and information indicating research consistent with his planned route to ISIS. The former avionics instrument system specialist, who will plead not guilty, showed the government that even a veteran could try joining ISIS.

“Born and raised in the United States, Pugh allegedly turned his back on his country and attempted to travel to Syria in order to join a terrorist organization,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute extremists, whether based here or abroad, to stop them before they are able to threaten the United States and its allies.”

His technical involvement with military and civilian aircraft, including his mechanic job with American Airlines around 2001, calls into question the country’s safety and if homeland security and anti-terrorist efforts do enough. Anyone can throw a lot of money at a problem, but one slight oversight could spell doom.

Following his deportation to the United States in January, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force wasted no time in obtaining a warrant for his electronic devices. The investigation led to his arrest in Asbury Park, N.J. on Jan. 16. The Neptune, N.J. man faces arraignment today in a Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court.

It may have been a scandalous few weeks for prominent New Jersey politicians, but at least none of them tried joining ISIS. It looks like years of north Jersey mafia activity and reruns of The Sopranos had law enforcement more than prepared to handle this traitor. It’s fitting that his trial would occur near Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty because it represents the poor seeking a new life of freedom with endless opportunity in America. He tried immigrating to an Islamic State of unfathomable extremism and hatred in order to join arms with a group that doesn’t tolerate anything less than their fundamental religious interpretations. During his time in Asbury Park, he clearly misinterpreted Bruce Springsteen’s criticism of American war activities. He’ll have up to 35 years-worth of time to reinterpret his entire life if convicted.

[CNN] [Fox 5 N.Y.]