Buffalo Woman Indicted for Conspiring to Threaten, Solicit Violence on Twitter
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that additional charges have been filed against a Buffalo, Mo., woman for conspiring to solicit violence against federal agents and military service members by utilizing various Twitter accounts.
Safya Roe Yassin, 38, of Buffalo, was charged in a three-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. The superseding indictment replaces an indictment returned on Feb. 23, 2016, and includes an additional count of transmitting a threatening communication and a new conspiracy count.
The federal indictment alleges that Yassin conspired with others from May 2015 to Feb. 18, 2016, and utilized Twitter to disseminate information that they believed to be from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). That information allegedly included threats and solicitations of violence against two current employees of the FBI and two former U.S. service members.
When Twitter suspended an account for violations of its terms of service, the indictment says, Yassin and her co-conspirators created new accounts in a manner that could be readily identified, so that followers of their prior accounts could find the new accounts. When new accounts were established, Yassin and her co-conspirators promoted the newly created Twitter accounts of other co-conspirators in order to maintain a constant presence of Twitter accounts providing information that they believed to be from ISIL.
In addition to the conspiracy, Yassin is charged with two counts of transmitting a threatening communication over the Internet.
According to the indictment, on Aug. 24, 2015, Yassin posted on Twitter a message previously posted by another user with the explicit phrase “Wanted to kill” followed by the first and last name, status as an employee of the FBI, city of residence, zip code and phone number of Victim 1. In the same communication, Yassin allegedly repeated the same explicit “Wanted to kill” phrase followed by the first and last name, status as an employee of the FBI, city of residence, zip code and phone number of Victim 2. This charge was contained in the original indictment.
According to the indictment, on Oct. 8, 2015, Yassin posted on Twitter a message previously posted by another user that contained a link to a document with the name and home address for a former U.S. service member identified as Victim 3, photos of Victim 3 with his family, and the names of Victim 3’s spouse and children along with the explicit phrase “to eventually hunt him down & kill him.” The document also contained the name and home address of Victim 4, a former U.S. service member who had been the previous target of solicitations to commit a crime of violence and threats on social media.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Casey and Abram McGull II. It was investigated by the FBI.