After tips from Islamic Centers in two different states, authorities arrested a Connecticut man they allege attempted to travel overseas to join the Islamic State.
Kevin Imam McCormick, 26, was charged on Oct. 21 with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization after a months-long FBI investigation and allegedly pledging his allegiance to ISIS and its leader in a video.
“I do like, I do like ISIS because Abu Musa was like my hero, I cry when I watch that video,” he said during one conversation with an FBI informant, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.
The Department of Justice did not issue a press release announcing the October arrest until after the publication of this article. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Connecticut stated that McCormick is currently being detained but declined to provide additional comments. His defense attorneys have not responded to repeated requests for comment.
According to the federal affidavit, the FBI was first alerted to McCormick, a former truck driver, on Aug. 24, when members from another state reported that McCormick had stated “we should support ISIS” and “Jihad is the way to go.” The community members also told authorities McCormick had asked about “circumcision and wanted a doctor that could help him with the procedure.”
About a week later, another individual “who attends an Islamic Center in another state” told authorities McCormick “expressed a desire to travel to Syria to ‘fight for Allah,’” the affidavit states. The 26-year-old attempted to justify his extremist ideologies, the individual told authorities, by quoting and citing various religious doctrines, although “he did so incorrectly.”
“McCormick agreed with the concerned individual that innocent people should not be attacked and McCormick further stated that is why his fight has to take place in Syria,” the affidavit says.
Authorities also state that after McCormick was fired as a truck driver in September, he attempted to purchase a firearm and a knife—but was declined after he admitted to a sales clerk the weapons were “not for an animal.” Ten days later, McCormick was also arrested for disorderly conduct in Arkansas after an altercation with his former employer in which he allegedly “kicked open a door.”
On Oct. 12, the former truck driver allegedly attempted to fly to Jamaica, but was denied boarding by the Department of Homeland Security. Shortly after that encounter, he met with an FBI informant and expressed his desire to travel to Syria “in order to join ISIS,” according to the court documents.
During the conversation, he added that he “wanted to kill people, specifically people from DHS, because DHS prevented McCormick from boarding the flight to Jamaica,” the affidavit states. Authorities allege McCormick also asked the informant to buy him a shotgun.
On Oct. 18, the FBI informant introduced him to a second informant—who McCormick believed was an ISIS facilitator that “would be able to smuggle him from out of the United States to Toronto” in order to connect with ISIS members in Amman, Jordan, and then ultimately travel to Syria.
“I’ve been ready for quite a long time now. I just need help to get out of here. I just, if I could get to the Muslim country,” McCormick allegedly told the second FBI informant through a secure encrypted app, before stating, “We’re living in this horrible place, like I can’t do it. I have to go fight...I can like feel it in my arm, my heart, like because I know how well I can fight..Because I got brothers dying..I know that they need my help bro.”
McCormick was arrested the next day with the two FBI informants as he attempted to board a flight from Connecticut to Canada, and then ultimately to Jordan.
In the presence of an FBI informant, McCormick recorded two videos on Oct. 19 pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State leader, one in English and the other in his native language of Jamaican Patois, authorities said. Al-Baghdadi was killed in a U.S. military operation one week later.
The Daily Beast first inquired about the investigation into McCormick on Nov. 7. The next day, the FBI searched his home. The agency has also filed numerous search warrants for his computer, cell phone, and two social-media platforms.
McCormick’s Facebook profile, which is still active, has signs of his support of jihadist ideology. A week before his arrest, he posted a video of an alleged Islamic State prison break in Syria with the comment, “ALLAHU AKBAR!!!!”
He posted a picture of U.S soldiers three days prior, calling them “kuffars,” or nonbelievers. McCormick used the same description to comment on a news story about the Taliban and U.S. peace talk negotiations.
Last summer, he complained about American Muslims, posting on Facebook: “The Muslims in this country are Americanized not real Muslims.”
McCormick also posted anti-Semitic conspiracy memes about the Rothchilds controlling all the world’s banks and a news story about an Israeli strike against Syria with the comment, “damn jews.”
On one of the Facebook accounts, McCormick posted a video on himself at a gun range in early September. A Facebook friend commented, “Looking like a fucking terrorist smfh [surprised face emoji]”
McCormick responded to the comment with his own surprised face emoji. He was arrested the following month.