- A Florida man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after posing as a jihadist online and planning to blow up a building.
- Joshua Ryne Goldberg had a number of unusual online personas, and reportedly became fixated on stoking fears of a terror attack in Australia.
- Law enforcement began investigating Goldberg for his online discussions prior to a 2015 shooting in Garland, Texas.
- Shortly before his arrest, Goldberg instructed an FBI informant to place a bomb at a firefighter’s memorial event for first responders killed in the September 11th attacks in Kansas City, Missouri.
A Florida man was sentenced to 10 years in a federal medical prison facility, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, after posing online as a jihadist and planning to blow up a building.
Joshua Ryne Goldberg, 23, of Orange Park, Florida, pleaded guilty in December to a number of charges including attempting to destroy a building with explosives. Goldberg, who is on the Autism spectrum, lived with his parents and spent 14 to 20 hours a day online posing as different personas on forums, SBS reported, citing the hearing at the US District Court in Jacksonville. According to the report, Goldberg suffered depression and became fixated on stoking fears of a terror attack in Australia.
Goldberg posed as a number of bizarre online personas, including a radical Muslim man in Australia, a Conservative black woman in Washington DC, a neo-Nazi, a Samoan woman in Alaska who hates fat people, and a far-left feminist, SBS reported. FBI and Australian law enforcement first began investigating Goldberg’s online alias “AusWitness,” according to a release from the Department of Justice.
Goldberg had become known to police due to his discussions online prior to a May 2015 attack at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Texas, in which two gunmen opened fire outside a satirical contest for drawing the Prophet Mohammed. Prior to the attack, Goldberg posted a map of the location and urged others to attack the event.
The FBI later found a post by Goldberg where he took responsibility for inspiring the Garland attack, as well as two other planned attacks.
In July 2015, an FBI informant exchanged messages with Goldberg where he discussed getting an individual to carry out a bombing in Melbourne. Goldberg sent the informant website links on how to make an explosive device, and later discussed plans of planting a pipe bomb or pressure cooker bomb at a large public event.
In August 2015, Goldberg instructed the informant to place a bomb near a crowd at a firefighter’s memorial event for first responders killed in the September 11th attacks in Kansas City, Missouri, which Goldberg called the “perfect place.”
US authorities raided Goldberg’s home in September 2015.
Goldberg also reached out to several major news outlets in Australia claiming to have “inside information” about terror plots, SBS reported.
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