Air Force Veteran Charged with Aiding ISIS

A federal grand jury in New York City charged Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, a former USAF avionics instrument system specialist, with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, according to a March 17 Department of Justice release. “Born and raised in the United States, Pugh allegedly turned his back on his country and attempted to travel to Syria in order to join a terrorist organization,” said US Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute extremists, whether based here or abroad, to stop them before they are able to threaten the United States and its allies.” While in the Air Force, Pugh was trained “in the installation and maintenance of aircraft engine, navigation, and weapons systems,” and he worked “for a number of companies in the United States and Middle East as an avionics specialist and airplane mechanic” after leaving the service, states the release. Pugh has been in US custody since his arrest in Asbury Park, N.J., on Jan. 16. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison, states the release. US Northern Command boss Adm. Bill Gortney told Senate legislators this week that home-grown extremists were one of the top threats to the homeland. (Pugh indictment) (See also Targeting ISIS from the November 2014 issue of Air Force Magazine)