A Boston police captain’s son, Alexander Ciccolo otherwise known as Ali Al Amriki- sentenced 20 for poor terror plot. How much of a threat was he?
A Boston police captain’s son, described by authorities as a ‘committed soldier’ of the Islamic State group, ISIS, was on Wednesday sentenced to 20 years in prison for plotting to use assault rifles and homemade bombs to kill Americans on a college campus.
Alexander Ciccolo, who went by the name Ali Al Amriki, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in May, three years after his father alerted the FBI about his son’s desire to fight for the terror group abcnews reported.
Ciccolo’s lawyers say the man, who dealt with mental health and substance abuse issues, had poorly thought out plans and no real ability to carry out the attack. Authorities, meanwhile, described him as a loyal Islamic-State group supporter devoted to inflicting ‘maximum damage’ upon the United States.
‘Make no mistake, Alexander Ciccolo was a committed soldier of ISIS who wanted to kill innocent people at a United States university with assault rifles and pressure cooker bombs, not an unwitting dupe who didn’t understand the gravity of what he was doing,’ Hank Shaw, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, said in a statement.
The son upon being eventually released will also be required to undergo lifetime supervision. Had Ciccolo not agreed to the plea deal, the police captain’s son faced the potential of life behind bars.
Asked about government claims that Ciccolo was an ISIS soldier, Ciccolo’s defense attorney responded the notion, was ‘over the top,’ and that Alexander hadn’t even actually met anyone from ISIS.
Adding, ‘Ciccolo never actually communicated with anyone from ISIS at any time. Every single person he connected with over the internet was a government agent or a cooperating source with the FBI.’
Alexander Ciccolo inspired by Boston Marathon attack:
Ciccolo was arrested in July 2015 after he received four guns he ordered from a person who was cooperating with the FBI. He pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, among other charges, one month before he was set to go on trial.
Prosecutors said he also planned to use homemade bombs similar to the pressure cookers used in the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon attack. Ciccolo was seen buying a pressure cooker shortly before his arrest.
Lawyers for 26-year-old Ciccolo identified the school in court documents as New Mexico State University.
Upon Ciccolo being arrested, he stabbed a prison nurse in the head more than 10 times, authorities said.
Before his arrest, he posted a photo of his Facebook page of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with the words ‘JUSTICE FOR JAHAR KEEP THE HOPE,’ according to prosecutors. They said he continues to espouse violent rhetoric, saying in a call from behind bars in April: ‘We’re at the point where Muslims are justified in using violence, yeah I do agree with that.’
Alexander Ciccolo: A legitimate terror threat?
Ciccolo’s father, Robert Ciccolo to this day says he doesn’t believe his son would have or could have followed through on his plans, his attorneys said in court documents. But the father, who was unaware of a specific plot, said he was worried his son might have done something ‘smaller and more impulsive,’ the lawyers say.
A regard of Robert Ciccolo’s LinkedIn profile revealed the father having 35 years of experience in state and local law enforcement and private organizations. He oversaw more than two dozen officers during the Boston Marathon bombings, according to CBS.
Ciccolo’s mother, Shelley MacInnes, told New England Public Radio last year that her son is ‘very compassionate’ and ‘would not hurt a fly.’
Ciccolo’s parents divorced when he was young and he moved from his mother’s home in Cape Cod to his father’s home in Boston when he was 14, according to NEPR.
Not immediately clear is what led to the son, as if almost in an about face to his father’s authority role seeking to carry out terror like activities and to what degree he was influenced by mental illness and substance abuse issues.