The estranged son of a respected Boston police captain was arrested July 4 by FBI agents as part of a counter-terrorism operation against alleged ISIS-inspired domestic terrorists, federal officials told ABC News today.
Alexander Ciccolo, 23, of Adams, Mass., was taken into custody on gun charges after buying two pistols and two rifles from an undercover FBI confidential informant, federal officials said. In a search of his apartment, officials reported they found it loaded with possible bomb-making equipment including a pressure cooker, a variety of chemicals, an alarm clock, along with “attack planning papers” and “jihad” paperwork. FBI agents said he used the name Abu Ali al-Amriki and neighbors said he was a recent convert to Islam.
“This is a very bad person arrested before he could do very bad things,” one senior federal official briefed on the arrest told ABC News.
An FBI affidavit said Ciccolo initially planned to travel to “another state” and use a pressure cooker bomb “to conduct terrorist attacks on civilians, members of the U.S. military and law enforcement personnel.” The FBI said the attack location was later changed to a town with a state university and would be concentrated on “college dorms and cafeteria, to include executions of students, which would be broadcast live via the internet.”
Ciccolo’s father is Boston police Captain Robert Ciccolo, a veteran commander assigned to Operations at Boston Police headquarters who was one of those to respond to the deadly Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. According to the FBI, the younger Ciccolo said he was “inspired” by the Marathon bombing and the use of pressure cooker bombs, and told the FBI undercover operative, “Allahu Akbar!!! I got the pressure cooker today.”
Law enforcement officials said Capt. Ciccolo alerted counter-terrorism authorities about a year ago that his son, with whom he had had minimal contact for several years, “was going off the deep end” and “spouting extremist jihadist sympathies.”
According to the affidavit of an FBI agent, the younger Ciccolo recently stated that he is, “not afraid to die for the cause,” and that he characterized America as ”Satan” and “disgusting.”
According to the FBI affidavit, Ciccolo posted a photo of a dead American soldier and wrote, “Thank you Islamic State. Now we won’t have to deal with these kafir back in America.” Kafir is a reference to non-believers of Islam. In a meeting with an FBI cooperating witness, Ciccolo praised the recent terror attack on a beach resort in Tunisia that killed 39 people, according to the FBI affidavit. “Awesome. Awesome, you that ah, that brother in Tunisia was impressive,” Ciccolo allegedly said.