Menu
Virginia teen pleads guilty to giving Islamic State help on bitcoin

Virginia teen pleads guilty to giving Islamic State help on bitcoin

Ali Shukri Amin, 17, used Twitter to link to an article on how to use bitcoin, according to U.S. officials

Speculation about whether the Islamic State (IS) group is using bitcoin intensified Thursday in the U.S. when government officials said a Virginia teenager admitted to providing the organization with advice on the virtual currency.

Ali Shukri Amin, 17, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to provide material support and resources to IS, according to a Department of Justice statement.

Amin used Twitter to advise and encourage IS and its sympathizers, including tips on how to use bitcoin to conceal sending funds to the group. The American used the Twitter handle @Amreekiwitness, which was set up in June 2014 and grew to have over 4,000 followers. The account has since been suspended.

Amin tweeted a link to an article on his blog that described how bitcoin works, how it could help jihadis and how they could use DarkWallet, an anonymous platform, to send bitcoin, according to a statement of facts filed with a plea agreement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division.

He also admitted facilitating the travel of another teenager, 18-year-old Reza Niknejad, to Syria to join IS. Amin faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin described the case as a "wake-up call" that IS recruiting efforts are reaching U.S. youth, and warned that social media is giving the group global reach.

Articles on bitcoin by an Ali Amin, including one entitled "Why we need to fund Dark Wallet," have appeared on the digital currency news site Coinbrief. The site did not immediately respond to a request for information.

Amin's guilty plea follows a report by the SITE Intelligence Group about an online post seeking bitcoin donations for IS. SITE director Rita Katz described in a 2014 Time online column how the U.S. Department of State's @ThinkAgain_DOS Twitter account once sparred about IS with @Amreekiwitness.

Various news reports over the past two years have also speculated on whether IS militants are actually using or benefitting from bitcoin. U.S. officials have long cautioned that virtual currencies, while offering benefits to the financial system, can also be exploited by criminals and terrorists.

Tim Hornyak covers Japan and emerging technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Tim on Twitter at @robotopia.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internettwitterInternet-based applications and services

Featured

Slideshows

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

New Zealanders kick-started EDGE 2018 with a bout of Super Rugby before a dedicated New Zealand session, in front of more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors on Hamilton Island.‚Äč

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session
EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018 kicked off with a dedicated New Zealand track, highlighting the key customer priorities across the local market, in association with Dell EMC. Delivered through EDGE Research - leveraging Kiwi data through Tech Research Asia - more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors combined during an interactive session to assess the changing spending patterns of the end-user and the subsequent impact to the channel.

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research
Show Comments