Jaelyn Young wrote a farewell letter to her parents before leaving the United States to join ISIS in Syria. In her letter, Young wrote that her parents would soon find out that she was guilty. On Twitter, the 20-year-old Mississippi State University student from Vicksburg wrote “I just want to be there.”
Jaelyn Young was unaware that her plan to join ISIS together with her fiance Muhammad Dakhlalla was picked up by FBI agents on Twitter. As CBS News reports on March 29, Young and her fiance were arrested on August 8 just as they were boarding a flight from Columbus, Mississippi, to head to Istanbul where they planned to get married and join ISIS.
On Tuesday, Young plead guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization in front of a federal judge in Aberdeen, Mississippi. She is facing up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and lifetime probation.
Should FBI agents really have detained the couple or just let them go join ISIS?
According to prosecutors, Young has made it clear that she hates the United States government and that she is convinced that the U.S. and the United Kingdom are treating Muslims unfairly. Her plan in joining ISIS was for her and her fiance to become ISIS medics to treat the wounded.
The former Mississippi State University chemistry student is the daughter of a school administrator and a police officer who served in the Navy reserve, and while at Vicksburg’s Warren Central High School, she was an honor student, cheerleader, and homecoming maid. As she admitted to FBI agents, she had never been outside the United States.
The only knowledge Young had about the world, specifically ISIS, was through pro-ISIS videos which led her to view the fighters as liberators. After viewing enough of the videos, Young was convinced that throwing a gay man off a roof to his death and shooting five members of the military in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was a justifiable means of liberation.
By May 2015, Young turned herself physically into a Muslim by wearing a burqa and covering her face and body. She converted to Islam and distanced herself from her family and friends. She felt spending time with non-Muslims would be a bad influence – just as she was told by the pro-ISIS propaganda videos.
The conversations between Young and ISIS (who were really FBI agents) on Twitter, clearly indicate that the 20-year-old nor her fiance had any idea what they were dealing with:
“The couple described their skills and asked how they could help the terror group’s efforts. ‘I am good with computers, education and media,’ Dakhlalla allegedly wrote in one message to an undercover FBI employee. ‘What could I contribute?’ Young also allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that her skills would be useful. ‘I am skilled in math and chemistry and worked at an analytical lab here on my college campus. My partner is very good with things like computer science/media. We learn very fast and would love to help with giving medical aid’.”
According to court documents, Young and Dakhlalla expressed their extreme enthusiasm to ISIS (undercover FBI agents) on Twitter:
“I wanted to ask about the military experience there. Would I be with people that speak English as well or do they put me with everyone at basic training? I am excited about coming … but I feel I won’t know what all I will be doing.”
Jaelyn Young, who admitted to being impatient and ironically used her mother’s credit card to pay for the trip to ISIS, wanted to be liberated and join something which she had no idea about. Should the FBI have let her go and join ISIS?