Nicholas Young, a 37-year-old former Metro Transit Police officer who hails from Fairfax, Virginia, managed to dodge the heaviest sentences possible, which would have seen him behind bars for 60 years.
Originally arrested in August 2016 after having been under FBI surveillance for six years, Young was charged by federal prosecutors with trying to provide material support to Daesh, USA Today reported at the time. Later, a charge of obstruction of justice was added after evidence surfaced that he had lied to an FBI informant in a text message, trying to make it appear as if someone he was suspected of having recruited to Daesh had only traveled to Turkey for a vacation, when in fact his intention was to cross the border to Syria and join the terrorist group, the Washington Times reported.
During Young's trial, the prosecution focused particular attention on the defendant's white supremacist beliefs, including an SS tattoo on his arm, a photo of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in his house and a collection of Nazi literature and uniforms that he liked to dress up in, Courthouse News reported at the time.
According to the Washington Post, he also expressed interest in joining the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization for descendants of participants on the Southern side of the US Civil War, fought from 1861-1865, that focuses on preservation of Confederate heritage, such as statues and place names commemorating leaders of the slaveholders' rebellion.
Prosecutors suggested that Young's virulent anti-semitism was the bridge between his white supremacist beliefs and his support for Daesh. A former roommate testified that Young once told him, "Don't discount the Muslims' ability to fight against the Jews." Young also allegedly owned an Israeli flag that he used as a doormat, the Washington Post reported.
The former Metro Transit Police officer allegedly converted to Islam after his father's death, according to Courthouse News.
The Washington Post reported that Young had used his vacation time in 2011 to travel to Libya and join the civil war there, fighting against the government of then-President Muammar Gaddafi. While in Libya, Young made important connections with Daesh in Syria that enabled his future collaboration, the Washington Post reported.
"The West and its puppet coalition are almost competing with Russia to see who can pummel that country [Syria] the most," he wrote at the time. "Everyone needs to join under one banner to repel them."
In 2014, Young had a score of meetings with an FBI informant who was posing as a US military reservist of Middle Eastern descent, discussing his intent to join Daesh and advising him on secure behavior to stay ahead of the authorities. He also later helped to shuffle at least one recruit off to Turkey, whose real intentions he obscured by lying to another FBI informant — the cause of his obstruction of justice charge.
Then, in 2016, Young tried to secure $245 in Google Play gift cards so that Daesh recruiters could correspond with recruits on encrypted messaging applications. He was arrested that March, Sputnik reported at the time.
Young was born and raised in northern Virginia and attended George Mason University. He left without finishing his degree, eventually landing a job with Metro Transit Police Department in 2003.
Young is far from the only police officer in Washington, DC, to have been discovered to have far-right and extremist ties. Last summer, two DC police officers were disciplined for wearing t-shirts in public that advertised a specific police unit, depicted white supremacist symbols such as the Celtic Cross, and celebrated "jump-outs," a controversial and more aggressive form of stop and frisk that targets men of color in searches for weapons, The Root reported at the time.
Moreover, on Monday, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a civil rights advocacy group in the nation's capital, brought a lawsuit against both federal prosecutors and the capital's Metropolitan Police Department alleging they colluded with far-right group Project Veritas in cases against anti-Trump protesters, Al-Jazeera reported.