alaska man pleads guilty to making false statements in domestic terrorism investigation
-- Spouse Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements --
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler and FBI Special Agent in Charge Kevin Fryslie announced that Paul Gene Rockwood, Jr., a former King Salmon, Alaska, resident, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to making false statements to the FBI in a domestic terrorism investigation. Rockwood’s spouse, Nadia Piroska Maria Rockwood, also pleaded guilty today to making false statements to the FBI in connection to the investigation of her husband.
At a hearing today before Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, Paul Gene Rockwood, Jr., 35, pleaded guilty to one count of willfully making false statements to the FBI involving domestic terrorism. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Rockwood has agreed to a sentence of eight years in prison followed by three years of supervised released, the maximum penalty that can be imposed for this violation.
Also today, Nadia Piroska Maria Rockwood, 36, the spouse of Paul Rockwood, pleaded guilty to one count of willfully making false statements to the FBI. Under the terms of her plea agreement, she has agreed to a sentence of five years of probation.
According to the plea agreements and other documents filed with the court, Paul Rockwood converted to Islam in late 2001, or early 2002, while living in Virginia, and later became a strict adherent to the violent jihad-promoting ideology of cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki. Paul Rockwood held a personal conviction that it was his religious responsibility to exact revenge by death on anyone who desecrated Islam and, while residing in Virginia, he began researching possible targets for execution.
According to the filed documents, after he moved to King Salmon in 2006, Paul Rockwood continued his adherence to Al-Awlaki’s ideology and began researching the method and means to exact revenge on his intended targets, which included U.S. service members. Among other topics, he researched explosives and remote triggering devices. In 2009, he began sharing his ideas about committing acts of domestic terrorism with others, including the possibility of using mail bombs or killing targets by gunshot to the head. By early 2010, he formalized his list to include 15 specific targets all outside the State of Alaska.
In April 2010, Paul Rockwood gave his written target list to his wife, Nadia, who, knowing of its purpose, carried the list with her on a trip to Anchorage. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) subsequently obtained the target list. On May 19, 2010, JTTF agents questioned Paul Rockwood and provided him a copy of the target list. In response to agents’ questions, Rockwood made false statements, denying he had created such a list, denying the purpose of the list and denying ever having such a list.
JTTF agents also questioned Nadia Rockwood on May 19, 2010, about transporting the target list authored by her husband to another person. In response, Nadia Rockwood made false statements, including deceptively claiming that she had delivered a book or a common letter to another person, among other deceptive explanations.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Anchorage. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven E. Skrocki and Bryan D. Schroder, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska, and Trial Attorney Paul Ahern, of the Counterterrorism Section in the Justice Department’s National Security Division.