A Brooklyn man who pledged loyalty to ISIS and encouraged lone wolf attacks in New York City via encrypted chat rooms, pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization, federal authorities said.
Zachary Clark, 41, faces up to 20 years in prison following his plea before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in federal court in Manhattan, officials said in a statement. Clark, who was known under multiple aliases, including Umar Kabir, Umar Shishani and Abu Talha, officials said, admitted guilt to one count of attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, specifically, ISIS.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said in a statement: “As he admitted in court today, Zachary Clark pledged allegiance to ISIS and posted calls for attacks on the public and institutions in New York on encrypted pro-ISIS chat rooms. He also posted detailed instructions for carrying out those violent acts. Thanks to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Clark’s efforts to incite deadly violence on behalf of ISIS have been silenced, and now he awaits sentencing for his crimes.”
Clark’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 9, officials said.
Clark’s lawyer Jonathan Marvinny could not be reached for comment Monday.
Officials said Clark called for lone wolf attacks in New York City after pledging his allegiance to ISIS twice in 2019. Clark first did so in July 2019, to ISIS’ then-leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi. He did so again, officials said, in October 2019, to ISIS’ new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi, who became the organization’s leader following al-Baghdadi’s death.
Clark, officials said, in one instance, posted a manual entitled “Knife Attacks,” that the thought of the discomfort inflicted by a knife wound is “never an excuse for abandoning jihad.”
“Beginning in at least March 2019, Clark disseminated ISIS propaganda through, among other avenues, encrypted chat rooms intended for members, associates, supporters, and potential recruits of ISIS,” authorities said. “Clark’s propaganda included among other things, calls for ISIS supporters to commit lone wolf attacks in New York City.”