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Press Release

Iraqi-Born U.S. Citizen Sentenced to 48 Months in Federal Prison for Making False Statements to the FBI

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
Defendant Admitted Lying About Pledging Allegiance to Self-Proclaimed Leader of ISIL

DALLAS – A Mesquite, Texas man, Bilal Abood, 38, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade to 48 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in October 2015 to a superseding indictment charging one count of making a false statement involving international terrorism to a federal agency, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Class Sr. of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office.

“My office’s highest priority is and will remain the security of our homeland and the safety of all Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Parker.  “We remain more committed than ever to aggressively fighting all terrorism-related acts in north Texas.  We appreciate the outstanding work by the Dallas FBI and the assistance of the Department’s National Security Division during this investigation and prosecution.”

“It remains among the highest priorities of the FBI to identify individuals who seek to join the ranks of foreign fighters traveling in support of ISIL,” said Special Agent in Charge Class.  “Bilal Abood lied to the FBI about the true purpose of his travel to Syria and his allegiance to ISIL, and now he will face the consequences.”

Abood has been in federal custody since his arrest in May 2015 by special agents with the FBI on a related criminal complaint.   

Abood admitted that on March 29, 2013, he attempted to depart the U.S. at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, but was not allowed to board the international flight.  While at the airport, FBI special agents asked Abood about his planned travel, and he stated he was merely planning to travel to Iraq to visit family.  During a subsequent interview, Abood admitted to FBI special agents that his intent on March 29, 2013, was to travel to Syria to fight the regime of Bashar Al Assad.  

On approximately April 29, 2013, Abood left the U.S. through Mexico and traveled through various countries into Syria.  On September 16, 2013, Abood returned to the U.S. and admitted to FBI special agents that he had traveled to Syria, but he denied supporting any terrorist groups.

A search warrant was executed on Abood’s computer on July 9, 2014.  A review of that computer revealed that on approximately June 19, 2014, Abood stated, while using his Twitter handle @ibnalislaam, “I pledge obedience to the Caliphate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”  Abood stipulated that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the self-proclaimed leader of ISIL and was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on October 4, 2011, and remains so to date.

Abood also admitted that on April 14, 2015, FBI special agents advised him that lying to a federal agent is a crime.  He further stipulated that on that date, he falsely told FBI special agents during a terrorism investigation that he had never pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi.  He also stipulated that he was aware the FBI special agents were investigating a matter that they suspected could involve international terrorism.

The FBI’s Dallas Division investigated the case.  The prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

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Updated May 25, 2016