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Feds charge NJ man with threatening to 'bomb Trump Tower,' providing support to Hamas
A New Jersey man has been charged with trying to aid a U.S.-designated terrorist group and with communicating an online threat that he would "bomb Trump Tower."
The U.S. attorney for New Jersey said in a statement that Jonathan Xie, 20, was arrested Wednesday on charges of attempting to provide material support to Hamas, lying on his application to the U.S. Army and communicating threats online.
CNN noted that Xie was set to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.
Xie is accused of sharing his alleged crimes on Instagram. The Justice Department said in its complaint that he allegedly donated $100 to someone in Gaza and then posted on Instagram: "Just donated $100 to Hamas ... Pretty sure it was illegal but I don't give a damn."
The FBI also surveilled Xie when he visited Trump Tower in New York in April, according to the complaint. Following his visit, Xie allegedly posted on the photo-sharing app: "I want to bomb Trump Tower."
Xie also posted a poll on Instagram asking if he should bomb the midtown Manhattan skyscraper.
Xie later shared a post about his desire to bomb an Israeli diplomatic office in New York City.
"Okay, so I went to NYC today and passed by Trump Tower and then I started laughing hysterically . . . sh-t I forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC . . .i want to bomb this place along with trump tower," he allegedly said in the post. (Israel's U.S. embassy is in Washington, D.C.; the country does have a consulate in New York.)
CNN noted that it remains unclear whether Xie has retained a lawyer.
"Homegrown violent extremists like Xie are a serious threat to national security," U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement. "The actions that he took and planned to take made that threat both clear and present, and we commend our law enforcement partners for working closely with us to stop him before he could carry out his plans to commit violence on American soil.
"We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our country and its citizens from the threat of terrorism, whether that threat comes from abroad or - as here - from within."