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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Knoxville Man Of Terrorism Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -  On October 19, 2023, following an eight-day trial in United States District Court, a jury convicted Benjamin Carpenter, age 31, of Knoxville, Tennessee, also known as “Abu Hamza,” of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B.

Carpenter faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison and a lifetime term of supervised release.  He will be sentenced in Knoxville, Tennessee, by the Honorable Katherine A. Crytzer, United States District Judge at a later date.

The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Carpenter served as the leader of Ahlut-Tawhid Publications, an international organization of pro-ISIS “munasirin” (i.e., supporters), dedicated to translating, producing, and distributing ISIS propaganda throughout the world.  For years, Carpenter, using his alias “Abu Hamza,” published a large body of ISIS media, including his weekly newsletter From Dabiq to Rome, a periodical that, among other things, celebrated the deaths of American soldiers, glorified suicide bombers, and called for open war against the United States and its Western allies.  In 2020 and 2021, Carpenter contacted an individual he believed to be affiliated with ISIS’s central media bureau and provided translation services for a project intended to relaunch Al-Hayat Media Center, ISIS’s official foreign-language media arm.  Unbeknownst to him, that individual was an FBI undercover employee who had infiltrated Carpenter’s group. 

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Department of Justice National Security Division, United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III of the Eastern District of Tennessee, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico of the Knoxville Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation made the announcement.  The case was investigated by the Knoxville Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is composed of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. It was led by the Knoxville FBI Field Office and involved the assistance of FBI offices from across the country.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kyle J. Wilson and Casey T. Arrowood of the Eastern District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Charles J. Kovats, Jr. of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section represented the United States at trial.



Rachelle Barnes
Public Affairs Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated October 20, 2023

National Security