Thursday, June 11, 2015

17-year-old Virginia Teen Faces Prison for Blog, Tweets about Encryption and Bitcoin

A 17-year-old Virginia teen faces up to 15 years in prison for blog and Twitter posts about encryption and Bitcoin that were geared at assisting ISIL, which the US has designated as a terror organization, reports ARSTechnica.

The teen, Ali Shukri Amin, who contributed to the Coin Brief news site, pleaded guilty (PDF) Thursday to a federal charge of providing material support to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Dana Boente, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said the youth's guilty plea "demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms with ISIL."

According to the defendant's signed "Admission of Facts" filed Thursday, Amin started the @amreekiwitness Twitter handle last June and acquired some 4,000 followers and tweeted about 7,000 times. (The Twitter handle has been suspended.) Last July, the teen tweeted a link on how jihadists could use Bitcoin "to fund their efforts."

According to Amin's court admission:
The article explained what Bitcoins were, how the Bitcoin system worked and suggested using Dark Wallet, a new Bitcoin wallet, which keeps the user of Bitcoins anonymous. The article included statements on how to set up an anonymous donations system to send money, using Bitcoin, to the mujahedeen.

 On his blog, the boy "authored a series of highly technical articles targeted at aspiring jihadists and ISIL supporters detailing the use of security measures in online communications to include the use of encryption and anonymity software, tools and techniques, as well as the use of the virtual currency Bitcoin as a means to anonymously fund ISIL."

Sentencing for the honor student at Osbourn Park High School of Manassas is scheduled for August 28. The boy remains jailed.
(via ASRTechnica)


  1. Isn't all this stuff publicly available online anyways?

  2. Government money and weapons are [somehow] aquired by ISIS = not a word

    Teenage girl tweets common knowledge about using bitcoins to avoid government tracking = charged with material support to a terrorist organization

    That's rich.

  3. Exactly what Mark Taylor said. Also, Israel is treating ISIS forces near the Syrian Border and its long been known that elements of the Saudi elite are financiers of Isis- not a peep from coward American officials who know where their marching orders are issued.

    If Isis were to some how get active in the Russian Federation, I am sure the American government would assist it as they did with other Islamic militants in the former Soviet Union.

    Do as say, not as I do has always been US policy.

  4. Wenzel, you should get involved in the appeals process as an "expert" for the defense.

  5. +1 Mike
    +1 Mark Taylor

    Yet another data point in the mounting pile of data points revealing that free speech is rapidly evaporating.