Everitt Aaron Jameson, 26, of Modesto, pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott made the announcement.
According to the plea agreement, between September 2017 and December 20, 2017, Jameson voiced support for ISIS knowing that the organization was engaging in terrorist activity and terrorism. Among other things, he had several online interactions with a confidential source, and during those interactions, he stated that he was committed wholeheartedly to “the cause.” Jameson also expressed support online for the October 31, 2017, terrorist attack in New York City, as well as other terrorist attacks. In subsequent communications with an undercover agent, Jameson stated that he was ready to do whatever they needed done here and noted that his time in the military had trained him for combat and war. According to court documents, Jameson joined the Marine Corps and received basic training, including earning a sharpshooter rifle qualification, but was ultimately discharged for failing to disclose his asthma history.
Later, Jameson met with another undercover agent whom he believed to be associated with, and working for, the senior leadership of ISIS and offered to carry out violent acts and provide financial support for the terrorist organization. He told the undercover agent that Christmas Day would be "the perfect day to commit the attack" and that he "did not need an escape plan because he was ready to die," according to the affidavit.
According to the plea agreement, on December 16, 2017, Jameson discussed what he could offer to the cause. Among other things, Jameson stated that he was well versed in the Anarchist Cookbook, and explained his desire to use explosives in an attack. He also noted that he could get PVC pipe, nails and powder for explosive devices, and asked for remote timing devices from that person, Jameson identified Pier 39 as a target location of an attack, noting that it was crowded and explosives could be used to funnel people into an area so that he could inflict casualties by shooting people trying to escape. Jameson also offered to provide money to the cause.
The FBI began investigating in mid-September when it learned that Jameson was expressing support for posts that favored terrorism or the Islamic State group. He "loved" an online post that showed Santa Claus threatening an attack in New York with a box of dynamite.
Agents raided his Modesto home and found a martyr's letter signed with an Islamic variation of his name, along with his last will and testament updated in November. They also found fireworks, two rifles and a 9mm handgun.
During the search, Jameson "stated his support of ISIS and terrorism and discussed aspects of the plan to carry out an attack, noting that he would be happy if an attack was carried out," the affidavit says.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dawrence W. Rice Jr. and Christopher D. Baker are prosecuting the case with Trial Attorney Brenda Sue Thornton of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
Jameson is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on Sept. 4. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Jameson faces a 15-year prison term, followed by a lifetime of supervised release. Under the agreement, the court may accept or reject the parties’ agreement about the appropriate sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.