Terrence J. McNeil, a 25-year-old in Akron Ohio, was arrested earlier today after months of observation by federal authorities. But the final straw, according to a Justice Department release, was a GIF he reposted on his Tumblr account that “solicited the murder of members of our military.”
Law enforcement were able to determine that the accounts belonged to McNeil after requesting the IP information from Twitter for user “11LoneWolfe” based on two tweets cited in the official complaint:
But it looks like McNeil was on the FBI’s radar long before he finally posted something actionable. A GIF reposted on Tumblr on September 24, which has since been deleted, reportedly showcased “several dozen photographs, purportedly of U.S. military personnel, along with their respective name, address and military branch” and stated the following:
Kill them in their own lands, behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their streets thinking that they are safe.
But the Justice Departemnt cited quite a bit more than just the GIF as evidence in its criminal charge.
Apparently, McNeil also had several different Twitter accounts (making a new one each time he got suspended), though all contained some variation of the user name “lonewolfe.”
Here's McNeil's various accounts. pic.twitter.com/IMwzCiliUB— Program On Extremism (@gwupoe) November 12, 2015
In his final account, though, he announced what was allegedly an engagement to another jihadist on Twitter. As well as the fact that he will not be engaging with eggs.
And here's McNeil's last twitter account where he announced his engagement. pic.twitter.com/IBA33wpQUf— Program On Extremism (@gwupoe) November 12, 2015
From the alleged Facebook posts in particular, it would seem that subtlety was not McNeil’s strong suit.
While his Facebook page has since been suspended, McNeil’s Tumblr account is still active at the time of publication. Scattered among the less alarming images of baby elephants (McNeil seems to really like elephants), Simpsons quotes, and artfully arranged food, you’ll find these:
While the GIF may have led to the charge, McNeil apparently wasn’t at all shy about alluding to the threats.
And at least according to him, McNeil actually held beliefs even more extreme than what he portrayed online.
“While we aggressively defend First Amendment rights, the individual arrested went far beyond free speech by reposting names and addresses of 100 U.S. service members, all with the intent to have them killed,” said Special Agent in Charge Anthony. “We will remain vigilant in our efforts to stop those who wish to support these despicable acts.”
As the Huffington Post notes, while the FBI has used retweets as evidence in prior terrorism charges, this would be the first time reblogging a GIF on Tumblr has been cited as official evidence in a case.
You can read the FBI’s official complaint in its entirety at the link below: