July 16th, 2013
07:09 PM ET

Prison for man who used Internet to encourage terrorism

By Carol Cratty

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Tuesday 102 months–eight and a half years– in prison for using the Internet to encourage others to commit acts of terrorism and for using a gun during a scuffle with FBI agents, the Justice Department said.

During court proceedings in Pittsburgh, prosecutors said Emerson Begolly, 22, was an administrator of an Islamic extremist forum called Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum.

According to the government, Begolly used the pseudonym Abu Nancy and "systematically solicited jihadists to use firearms, explosives and propane tanks against targets such as police stations, post offices, Jewish schools and daycare centers, military facilities, train lines, bridges, cell phone towers and water plants."

During the summer of 2010, the government said Begolly called on jihadists to "write their legacy in blood" and said those who committed violence in the name of Allah would receive a special place in the afterlife.

He not only encouraged those on the forum. He also tried to give them some instructions to put into use. In December 2010, he posted a manual on how to make bombs.

The same month, he applauded a series of shootings at military buildings in Northern Virginia that included the Pentagon.

Begolly said he hoped the shooter took his actions after being inspired by his postings. No one was injured in those shootings and a suspect was caught.

"The case against Mr. Begolly is an important reminder that online-inspired terrorism can occur anywhere, including Western Pennsylvania, said Gary Perdue, an FBI agent in charge of the Pittsburgh field office.

In January 2011, two FBI agents approached Begolly to try to question him. He was seated in a parked car outside a fast food restaurant. Begolly got into a physical struggle with the agents in which he bit them on their fingers. The agents found a loaded 9 mm handgun concealed under Begolly's coat.

Begolly pleaded guilty in August 2011 to the charges filed in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Filed under: FBI • Terrorism
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. some guy

    Just for arguments sake, if he has not done anything and is all talk. Would that not be protected under free speech. However vindictive.

    July 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Reply
    • Armand

      Are you a communist? Or just a total moron.

      July 17, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • USMC1371

      You can say what you want but be ready to pay for those words. This guy should be tried as a enemy of the state.

      July 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • USAPeasant

      That's a fair enough question to ask I feel. I personally would think that indeed so long as he has not commited any physical violence that those are just his words and that he is free to say anything he wants at all.

      However mind you even if we overlook his internet posting he was biting two FBI agents which is assault, and which is most certainly a crime. I'm a big fan of free speech myself, even the abrasive use of free speech. However, in accordance to this news article all the FBI seemed to want to do was talk to him, and he reacted violently instead of using his free speech. So I think it is clear this is not a man whom values free speech, but rather a man whom values violence.

      July 18, 2013 at 2:16 am | Reply
      • .Ma

        You got it.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:01 am |
  2. BC

    I seen a pic of him wearing a Nazi uniform, Just a hater.

    July 17, 2013 at 5:41 am | Reply

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