FBI agents arrested a 20-year-old from New Jersey on Wednesday who they say posted a poll on Instagram stories asking whether he should bomb Trump Tower in New York City.
Federal authorities charged Jonathan Xie with two counts of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization as well as two false statement charges and a count of transmitting a threat.
Xie, the feds allege, donated to Hamas, lied on an application to enlist in the Army, and threatened supporters of Israel.
The 20-year-old evidently came to the FBI’s attention after someone he spoke with in an online group chat informed the bureau that Xie was posting about his desire to harm supporters of Israel. The FBI, according to an affidavit, identified his Instagram and YouTube account, where he posted videos from a number of extremist groups.
The feds said Xie recored a Instagram Live video (which was recorded by another user) in which he wore a black ski mask and said he was against “Zionism” and the “neo-liberal establishment,” said he would join Hamas if he “could find a way” and displayed a Hamas flag and handgun. “I’m gonna go to the [expletive] pro-Israel march and I’m going to shoot everybody,” he allegedly said.
The FBI obtained firearms registration records associated with Xie’s parents and Moneygram records indicating that Xie donated to Hamas through an online website. He also evidently posted an Instagram story about his donation back in December:
Xie, the feds charge, communicated with an individual in Palestine about his donation. He also posted extensively on Instagram about his plans to join the Army and “learn how to kill” and go “lone wolf” to stop “Jewish [interests].”
Xie also sent instructions and photos through Instagram to an undercover FBI employee on how to donate to Hamas, the feds say.
The FBI monitored Xie when he visited New York City last month, where he posted photos of Trump Tower. “I want to bomb Trump Tower,” he wrote in one past before conducting a poll asking “Should I bomb Trump Tower,” which included a bomb emoji over a photo of the building. He also allegedly wrote in an Instagram chat that Trump “should be hung from the gallows!”
Xie will appear in federal court in Newark on Wednesday afternoon.
The criminal complaint is embedded below.