On July 14, 2010, following the attacks in Uganda, Chesser contacted the FBI agent who had previously interviewed him, saying that he wanted to share information about his attempted travel and that he had had a change of heart about joining Al-Shabab after the attack in Uganda. Chesser allegedly told the FBI that it would be easy for him to join the group, which would be starting its training camps in two months.
According to Justice Department officials, in the past two years nearly 35 U.S. citizens and people living in the U.S. have been arrested and charged for terrorist activity. A recently disclosed FBI Directorate of Intelligence document noted that there were an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 websites, blogs and Internet forums supportive of terrorist related activities and propaganda.
An attorney for Chesser, is expected to have an initial appearance at the Federal Court in Alexandria Thursday morning, was not identified in the court docket.
"This case exposes the disturbing reality that extreme radicalization can happen anywhere, including Northern Virginia," US Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement released Wednesday. "This young man is accused of seeking to join al-Shabab, a brutal terrorist organization with ties to Al-Qaida. These allegations underscore the need for continued vigilance against homegrown terror threats."