FBI arrest man for allegedly planning ISIS-inspired Christmas season attack
The FBI searched his home and found weapons and a note referring to Trump.
By Pierre Thomas, Jack Date and Mike Levine
December 23, 2017, 4:24 AM
• 6 min read
-- The FBI has arrested a California tow truck driver for allegedly attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization and plotting a Christmas-time attack.
Officials say Everitt Aaron Jameson ultimately said he didn’t want to go through with it, after an FBI employee accidentally called his phone with an identifiable Washington D.C.-based phone number. The bureau didn’t believe him, searched his home and found weapons and a martyrdom note referring to President Donald Trump.
Jameson posted radical jihadist messages online and offered to use his employer-provided tow truck for the “cause,” according to a criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent. In 2009, he attended basic recruit training for the Marine Corps and later graduated with a “sharpshooter” qualification, but he was discharged for fraudulent enlistment because he failed to disclose a history of asthma.
He also voiced support for the Halloween Day truck attack in New York which killed eight people.
In September, an FBI informant flagged the FBI to his Facebook account — he called himself "vanity everittj". According to the informant, Jameson “loved” a Facebook post on Nov. 29 that showed an image of Santa standing in New York with a box of dynamite and a messages that read, “ISIS post image of Santa with dynamite threatening attack on New York.”
In late October, Jameson and the informant exchanged private messages, including a message on Oct. 29 in which James described himself as a convert, saying, “This is what will make me more useful. I can blend in. Or shock and awe.”
On Nov. 2, after the Halloween attack in New York in which eight people died when a rented truck was used to kill pedestrians on a jogging path, Jameson told the informant, “I’m glad to know we Muslims are finally hitting back. Allahu Akbar! The Kuffar deserve everything and more the lives they have taken.”
The next day, Jameson filled out a “Franchise Tow Truck Driver Application” with the police department in Modesto, California. Weeks later, FBI agents reported that it appeared as though Jameson was working for a local towing company.
On Dec. 11 — less than two weeks ago — an undercover FBI agent began communicating with Jameson online.
On Dec. 16, Jameson met in person with a second undercover FBI agent, and they discussed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Jameson’s ability to help in the fight, and then Jameson’s belief that the U.S. needed another attack like New York or the deadly 2015 San Bernardino, Calif. mass shooting in which armed gunmen killed 14 people at Inland Regional Center.
Jameson said he wanted to use a combo of the two attacks — vehicle and firearms. Jameson specifically named Pier 29 in San Francisco as a target because he had been there and knew it was heavily crowded. Jameson said he also wanted to use explosives and that Christmas Day would be the perfect day.
Jameson said he would go to the mountains to build bombs for the attack.
He wrote a letter stating among other things: “You all have brought this upon yourselves. There are no innocent Kuffar! Each and every Kuffar in this Nationalistic, Godless society has a hand in this. You’ve allowed Donald J Trump to give away Al Quds to the Jews. Both You and he are wrong, it belongs to the Muslemeen.”
On Dec. 18, an FBI employee mistakenly called Jameson with an identifiable DC number. Later that day, the second undercover agent messaged Jameson for a follow-up meeting. Jameson told the agent, “I also don’t think I can do this after all. I’ve reconsidered.”
FBI raided his home in Modesto on Dec. 20. They found the martyrdom letter he left behind, and also found several firearms. During the raid, Jameson told the FBI of his support for ISIS and his plan for attack, noting that he would be happy if an attack was carried out.