Spartan woman pleads guilty to concealing material support for foreign terrorist organization USAO MDTN

NASHVILLE – A woman from Sparta, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in US District Court today to concealing material support and resources intended to be provided to a foreign terrorist organization, US Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee said known.

Georgianna AM Giampietro, 36, was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2019 and charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. She was arrested by FBI agents at her home shortly thereafter and remains in custody. Substitute information filed last week accused Giampietro of concealing material support and resources to be provided to a foreign terrorist organization, the charge to which she pleaded guilty.

“I commend our law enforcement partners and our prosecutors who have worked diligently to investigate this case and bring this person to justice,” said US Attorney Wildasin. “Any attempts to support terrorist organizations will receive the full attention and resources of our office and law enforcement to ensure those engaged in such activities are held accountable. The safety of the American public demands no less.”

“Protecting the United States from acts of terrorism is the FBI’s top priority,” lead Special Agent Douglas M. Korneski of the FBI’s Memphis field office told terrorist organizations, holding them accountable for their conspiratorial actions. I’m proud of the personnel who have worked countless hours to protect the community, and I want to thank all of the agencies that participate in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Together we pool our resources to identify and stop threats to protect our community.”

According to court documents, Giampietro admitted that in September 2018 she had discussions with an undercover agent who had expressed interest in traveling to Syria to join Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The undercover agent told Giampietro that her husband had sworn an oath of allegiance to HTS and that he intended to fight on behalf of HTS.

Giampietro first provided the undercover cop with instructions and advice on how to travel to Syria to avoid detection by law enforcement, including what steps the undercover cop and her husband should take before starting the trip, including cutting ties to other people 6-8 months in advance; buying new phones before the trip; and to consider a trip through Turkey before entering Syria.

In later conversations with the undercover agent, Giampietro offered to communicate with her contacts on her behalf to help them travel safely to Syria to join HTS. Giampietro conducted a series of communications with one person who she knew could assist the undercover and her husband to this end. Sometime after speaking to her contact, who claimed that there was no jihad in Syria at this time, Giampietro asked the undercover agent if she and her husband had considered a trip to Afghanistan as they were still fighting there.

Giampietro later provided the undercover agent with her contact’s information to help her and her husband travel to Syria. When Giampietro made the contact, she knew that HTS was a designated terrorist organization and believed that the undercover agent and her husband intended to travel to Syria to work under the direction and control of HTS and believed that the Contact would greatly assist them in this effort. Furthermore, Giampietro intended that the undercover cop and her husband would provide funds to this individual, which in turn would provide funds to HTS, thereby providing material assistance to HTS disguised as a charitable donation.

Giampietro used an end-to-end encrypted social media platform to communicate with the undercover cops and their contact, and in some cases used self-destruct timers in their communications so that those communications were then automatically deleted without the Possibility of recovery exists for a certain time.

Giampietro faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when convicted on May 6, 2022.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Assistant US Attorneys Philip H. Wehby, Ben Schrader and Kathryn Risinger of the Tennessee Middle Circuit and Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.

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