MADISON, Wisc. — A Wisconsin man has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support for the barbaric Islamic group ISIS, joining nearly 20 other Americans who have been taken into custody on similar charges over the past year.
Joshua Van Haften, 34, was arrested Wednesday night by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) as his flight from Turkey landed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Van Haften had traveled to the country last August, which is known to be an entry point into Syria.
“Van Haften traveled overseas for the alleged purpose of joining and attempting to provide material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.
The matter was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the members of which include the FBI, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and the University of Wisconsin Police Department.
Officials found that Van Haften had liked comments from ISIS supporters on social media and had publicly outlined his philosophies and undertakings on his personal Facebook page.
“My password has always been ‘Death to America’s New World Order’ for the past fifteen years when me and Ibrahim Malik Al-Amin made a covenant in the prison cell,” he wrote, according to the federal complaint. “That was no secret to NSA.”
“It’s either now or never,” Van Haften allegedly wrote in another discussion. “If and when the Kuffar (slaves of America) come at me to arrest me or take me, I’m fighting them. [Expletive] if they ever take me freely again!”
Van Haften, who spent seven years in prison after being convicted of child abuse charges in 2000, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker of the Western District of Wisconsin this morning for his formal arraignment. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Special Agent in Charge, Robert J. Shields Jr. of the FBI’s Milwaukee Division, remarked that he hopes the arrest serves as warning to other Americans who might seek to join terrorist organizations.
“This arrest underscores the importance of our JTTF law enforcement partnerships to bring those to justice who provide support and resources to terrorist organizations such as ISIL,” he stated. “We hope this arrest will serve as a deterrent for others who may be terrorist sympathizers here in Wisconsin, across the nation or abroad. They will be held accountable for support of terrorism against our citizens and our international partners.”
As previously reported, James Comey, the director of the FBI, stated at a recent meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) that he believes ISIS sympathizers are present nationwide.
“Those people exist in every state,” he outlined. “I have homegrown violent extremist investigations in every single state. Until a few weeks ago there was 49 states. Alaska had none, which I couldn’t quite figure out. But Alaska has now joined the group, so we have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states.”