A crazy story out of the Boston area today. Alexander Ciccolo (who now calls himself Abu Ali al-Amriki), the 23-year-old estranged son of a Boston police captain, was arrested on July 4 as part of a counter-terrorism plot by the FBI. He was charged with gun charges after buying two rifles and two pistols from an undercover FBI informant. A search of his apartment revealed what's being described as "possible bomb-making equipment" as well as "attack planning papers and jihadi paperwork."
Ciccolo’s father is Boston police Captain Robert Ciccolo, a veteran commander assigned to Operations at Boston Police headquarters who was one of the first responders to the deadly Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. According to the FBI, the younger Ciccolo said he was “inspired” by the Marathon bombing and the use of pressure cooker bombs, and told the FBI undercover operative, “Allahu Akbar!!! I got the pressure cooker today.”
Law enforcement officials said Capt. Ciccolo alerted counter-terrorism authorities about a year ago that his son, with whom he had had minimal contact for several years, “was going off the deep end” and “spouting extremist jihadist sympathies.” According to the affidavit of an FBI agent, the younger Ciccolo recently stated that he is, “not afraid to die for the cause," and that he characterized America as ”Satan” and “disgusting.”
Capt. Ciccolo did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the FBI affidavit, Ciccolo posted a photo of a dead American soldier and wrote, “Thank you Islamic State. Now we won’t have to deal with these kafir back in America.” Kafir is a reference to non-believers of Islam. In a meeting with an FBI cooperating witness, Ciccolo praised the recent terror attack on a beach resort in Tunisia that killed 39 people, according to the FBI affidavit. “Awesome. Awesome, you that ah, that brother in Tunisia was impressive,” Ciccolo allegedly said.
According to the FBI, Ciccolo was planning an attack on a university, with plans to broadcast executions of students on the internet.
Major kudos to the FBI for catching Ciccolo before he could actually carry out his planned attacks. It's scary that someone born and raised in the United States could embrace ISIS' ideology to the point of actually buying firearms and bomb-making materials. ISIS has incredibly effective online recruiting techniques, and clearly they're working.
This is the second ISIS-related plot that has been broken up in Boston in the past month. In June, two men were taken in to custody after a plot to kill activist Pamela Geller was uncovered.