U.S. Marine charged for allegedly ‘providing material support’ to Hamas

In a court filing on Oct. 6, Jason Fong, a Marine reservist arrested by the FBI in May, was charged for allegedly providing material support, resources and funds to Hamas, a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

“On or about May 18, 2020, in Orange County, within the Central District of California, and elsewhere, defendant JASON FONG, also known as “asian_ghazi,” a national of the United States located in the United States, knowingly concealed and disguised the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of material support and resources and funds, knowing the same were to be provided to a foreign terrorist organization, namely Hamas, also known as the Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades, in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 2339B,” the court filing read.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, Fong was arrested and initially charged with ‘suspicion of possessing illegal firearms’ on May 20 at his Irvine, California home.

Additionally, Task and Purpose reported in May that Fong ‘joined the Marine reserves in 2014 and is currently a sergeant assigned to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Squadron 4 at Camp Pendleton, California as a maintenance technician.’

The court document mentions ‘Hamas’ or its military wing ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ as the group Fong was allegedly supporting. However, the nature of Hamas’ involvement is unclear. Also, the court document doesn’t distinguish between Hamas’ political and military wings, which are two separate but related entities.

Given Fong’s military background, it is possible he provided support to Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades. Specifically, Fong’s background as a UAV maintenance could have been useful for al-Qassam Brigades who’ve been developing their own UAV capability for a number of years.

Another possibility is that Fong was providing funds to al-Qassam Brigades. Approximately two years ago, the militant group published information in English on how to send cryptocurrency to support its cause against Israel. However, due to recent actions by the U.S. Department of Justice, the website publishing the information was shut down.

Lastly, Fong’s case may be similar to the Sept. arrest of two ‘Boogaloo Bois’ members who were charged by the Justice Department for conspiring to provide material support to Hamas. According to the DOJ, the pair communicated the idea of becoming mercenaries for Hamas as a way to raise funds for the ‘Boogaloo Bois’ movement to an undercover agent posing as a member of the Islamic militant group.

In this case, until the details of the case are made public, Fong’s alleged actions in supporting Hamas or its military wing remain unknown.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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