Terrence McNeil via his now deleted Tumblr account
This week, the US government dropped a six-count indictment on Terrence McNeil, the 25-year-old Akron nobody knew who made international headlines after his arrest in November for social media posts that allegedly supported the Islamic State. As first reported at the time of arrest,
the digital footprint included calls for the murder of US servicemen.
And although the Akron City Hospital employee has been locked up since last month, this week's indictment is the first peek at what exactly McNeil was plastering online — including threats and personal information about a Navy Seal who may have been involved in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Most of McNeil's activity seems to have gone down on a now-yanked Tumblr account (these millennials with their Tumblrs), but the indictment notes he was also active on Twitter and Facebook. The government's filing stretches back some time, to statements the defendant allegedly made in May 2014.
When news of McNeil's arrest first hit the web, there was a lot of keyboard pounding about whether this was overreach, big government torching the First Amendment because it didn't like McNeil's politics. All that will likely get tussled out in court, but the indictment shows that the defendant wasn't shy about his hate-mongering. According to the indictment, these are a sample of McNeil's posts between May 2014 and October 2015:
"I can't wait for another 9/11, Boston bombing, or Sandy Hook!!!"
"I would gladly take part in an attack on this murderous regime and the poeple [sic]."
"I'll be proud when I sled [sic] american blood."
"Somebody should park a car bomb in front of a church, school, or mall."
"13 Israeli soldiers killed today, if that's not a cause for celebration I don't know what is."
"No American citizen is safe, fisabilillah they are all valid target [sic]. Until our brothers and sisters are free from imprisonment, harassment, torture, bombs, and bullets American will bleed inshallah."
"Too many homicidal thoughts."
"Being Muslim, black, and native american in the US, I feel like it's my duty to burn America."
"The only Muslims that should come to the US are ones that carry black banners looking to conquer."
McNeil's posts also reacted to the day's headlines. In February 2015, NcNeil allegedly posted photos of Jordanian pilots burned to death by ISIS fighters ("Alhumdullilah I was worried for a while they might let that murderer go"). Last July he celebrated when a gunman opened fire at a military installation in Chattanooga, killing four marines and one navy sailor ("I just heard the news Allahu Akbar!!!").
The meat of the government case against McNeil is his reposting of info regarding US service men and women. Last September, he reposted a gif file to his Tumblr containing the names, home addresses, photos, and military branches of 100 US personnel. The file encouraged ISIS fans to kill.
In October, McNeil allegedly retweeted a link purportedly containing the address and photo of the Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden. The link claimed the Seal "is a mummy's boy who has been trying to hide yet still lives with his father . . . and mother . . . In between going around America to conferences boasting at how his 'claim to fame' is killing Sheikh Osama Bin Laden." McNeil also posted Seal's info on his Tumblr with the following caption: "don't let this kafir sleep peacefully."
With all this in the chamber, the government has charged McNeil with three counts of threatening military personnel and three counts of solicitation of a crime of violence. This morning, we buzzed McNeil's attorney Nathan Ray. He didn't respond to a message for comment. If he does, we'll update.