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Press Release

Wisconsin Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Joshua Van Haften, 34, of Madison, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support and resources, namely himself as personnel, to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord and U.S. Attorney John W. Vaudreuil for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Van Haften admitted that in 2014, he attempted to provide material support to ISIL, knowing that the organization was a designated terrorist organization that has engaged and engages in terrorism.

According to the government’s evidence, Van Haften traveled to Turkey in 2014 and attempted to cross into Syria. He posted online that he had taken an oath of allegiance to the leader of ISIL, and that “The only thing that matters to me is joining my brothers for the war against America [sic] liars.”

Van Haften was arrested at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois in April 2015, after his arrival in custody on an international flight from Turkey. He has been held in federal custody since his arrest.

U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson scheduled sentencing for February 17, 2017 at 1:00pm CDT. Van Haften faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The charge against Van Haften is the result of an investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the members of which include the FBI; Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation; Dane County Sheriff’s Office; and University of Wisconsin Police Department. Assistance was also provided by DHS.

The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Anderson for the Western District of Wisconsin and Trial Attorney Lolita Lukose of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Updated October 20, 2016

National Security
Press Release Number: 16-1231