EXCLUSIVE: Before terror plot, ISIS fixer was an Obama fan

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Maryland Man Accused of Supporting ISIS

The Maryland man arrested by the FBI for allegedly receiving thousands of dollars from ISIS operatives overseas to carry out an attack in the United States spent time on Facebook showing support for the leader of one of the terror group's greatest enemies: President Barack Obama.

Prior to his alleged interaction with the Islamic State, a Facebook account linked to Mohamed Yousef Elshinawy that Vocativ found using our deep web technology shows that he liked posts shared by President Obama's official page. The Edgewood resident was also a fan of dozens of other public figures on Facebook, which ranged from Bill Gates to Islamic clerics condemned by the West for their radical views, a Vocativ analysis found. Elshinawy's interests on the social media site were wide-ranging and included liking technology companies and video games, memes in Arabic, snapshots of Mecca and stunning natural landscapes.

Vocativ found at least seven instances between October 2013 and April 2014 when Elshinawy showed support for the president or elements of his administration's agenda.

SEE ALSO: Maryland man accused of trying to support Islamic militants

Elshinawy was among the more than 325,000 people who "liked" a photo shared by Obama in October 2013 that showed the White House bathed in pink light in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Elshinawy would later go on to like posts related to Obama's health care plan, economic opportunity and calls for celebrating religious diversity in the U.S. The profile linked to Elshinawy also followed two separate Facebook accounts belonging to the president.

The U.S. president wasn't the only influential person Elshinawy supported online. Vocativ also discovered that he followed more than 10 sheihks from around the world, though primarily from the Gulf region and from Egypt, where Elshinawy was born. These Islamic leaders included Saudis Mohammed al-Arifi, a cleric whose extremist views got him banned from Switzerland, and Dr. Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni, who was reportedly placed on a U.S. no-fly list in 2012.

Elshinawy's last show of public support for Obama came in April 2014—about 10 months before he allegedly took a definitive shine toward ISIS. According to a criminal complaint, Elshinawy pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State last February, a day after the terror group released a video that showed them beheading 21 Coptic Christians. At the time, Elshinaway said his "soul was over there with the jihadists," court documents allege.

SEE ALSO: President Obama: 'We are hitting ISIL harder than ever'

The FBI discovered in June that someone living in Egypt was trying to send money to Elshinaway, who lived just outside of Baltimore, according to the complaint. Using PayPal, Western Union and eBay, he allegedly managed to pocket $8,700 from ISIS-linked sources, officials claim.

"When confronted by investigators over the summer, Elshinawy acknowledged that he had accepted thousands of dollars from an ISIS source in Egypt. However, he claimed that he was trying to "scam some money" from the Islamic State, not wage an attack, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint said that Elshinawy used the money to purchase a laptop, pay-as-you-go phones and personal expenses. "

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EXCLUSIVE: Before terror plot, ISIS fixer was an Obama fan
A civilian woman carries her child during a battle with Islamic State militants, east of Mosul, Iraq, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
Civilians walk past Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) during a battle with Islamic State militants, east of Mosul, Iraq, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
A displaced man, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, carries a woman in the Mithaq district of eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smoke rises from clashes during a battle with Islamic State militants in the Mithaq district of eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
An Iraqi soldier is seen during a battle with Islamic State militants, north of Mosul, Iraq, December 30, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Iraqi people flee the Islamic State stronghold in the town of Bartella, east of Mosul, December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Iraqi people flee the Islamic State stronghold in the town of Bartella, east of Mosul, December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Iraqi rapid response forces cook food in their headquarters during the war against the Islamic state militants east of Mosul, Iraq, December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Mohammad Hassan, whose hand was chopped off by Islamic State militants, sits outside a house at Nimrud village, south of Mosul, Iraq, December 13, 2016. Picture taken December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Displaced Iraqi boys, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, warm themselves by a fire in Khazer camp, Iraq,December 15, 2016.REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Displaced Iraqi woman, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, bids her relatives farewell as she leave Khazer camp to go home, Iraq December 10, 2016.REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Iraqi Christians come to visit the heavily damaged Church of the Immaculate Conception after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State in Qaraqosh, near Mosul, Iraq, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
An Iraqi father (L) mourns the death of his son, who was killed during clashes in the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, in al-Samah neighborhood, Iraq December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
An Iraqi girl, who was wounded during clashes in the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, lies on a bed at a field hospital in al-Samah neighborhood, Iraq December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Displaced people who fled the clashes transfer to camps during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, November 30, 2016 REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
A member of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) gestures in military vehicle during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, November 30, 2016 REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man gestures as other men sit on the ground as an Iraqi Special forces intelligence team check their ID cards as they search for Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq November 27, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Two men hold hands as an Iraqi Special forces intelligence team searches for Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq November 27, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters are seen in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Boys stand in front of oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Civilians flee fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq, November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smoke rises from clashes during a battle with Islamic State militants at the airport of Tal Afar west of Mosul, Iraq November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of Shi'ite fighters carries a weapon during a battle with Islamic State militants at the airport of Tal Afar west of Mosul, Iraq November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A displaced woman from the outskirts of Mosul covers herself in a blanket in the town of Bashiqa, after it was recaptured from the Islamic State, east of Mosul, Iraq, November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
A girl attends classes after the city was recaptured from the Islamic State militants in Qayyara, Iraq, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Ari Jalal
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The money he got was intended "to conduct an attack on U.S. soil," said John P. Carlin, the Justice Department's assistant attorney general for national security. Federal law enforcement officials said they had uncovered no specific plans by Elshinawy for an attack. The case against him appears to be one of the most serious because of the extent of his contacts with overseas militants.

Elshinawy was arrested on Friday and charged with providing material support to the Islamic State, lying to the FBI about money transfers and concealing evidence, the criminal complaint said.

The post EXCLUSIVE: Before Terror Plot, ISIS Fixer Was An Obama Fan appeared first on Vocativ.

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