Chicago college student charged after allegedly writing code on behalf of ISIS

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A Chicago, Illinois, man has been arrested on a federal complaint charging him with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The complaint and arrest were announced by John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice John R. Lausch Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI.

Thomas Osadzinski, 20, was arrested Monday, November 18, in Chicago. A criminal complaint charges him with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. Osadzinski appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole in Chicago and was ordered held without bond. A detention hearing was scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.

Osadzinski is a U.S. citizen who resides in Chicago. The complaint alleges that Osadzinski designed a process that uses a computer script to make ISIS propaganda more conveniently accessed and disseminated by users on a social media platform. Osadzinski earlier this year shared his script – and instructions for how to use it – with individuals whom he believed to be ISIS supporters and members of pro-ISIS media organizations, the complaint states. Unbeknownst to Osadzinski, the individuals were actually covert FBI employees and a person confidentially working with law enforcement, according to the complaint.

ISIS and its supporters disseminate the terror group’s propaganda materials online to as wide an audience as possible in order to recruit fighters and inspire violence against the United States and other countries. Social media platforms routinely remove ISIS media content due to the violent nature of the materials. According to the complaint, Osadzinski’s computer process would automatically copy and preserve ISIS media postings in an organized format, allowing social media users to continue to conveniently access and disseminate the content.

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