Non-profit monitored Ciccolo’s social media page for extremism

Photo from Ciccolo’s Facebook page. Credit to Anti-Defamation League.
Photo from Ciccolo’s Facebook page. Credit to Anti-Defamation League.

This story is courtesy of our sister station – News10.

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A non-profit organization helped track the online movements of an Adams man accused of plotting a terror attack.

The Anti-Defamation League is a non-profit organization that monitors extremists’ movements as well as individuals. The organization said 55 U.S. residents have been linked to a terrorist organization so far in 2015.

That number doubles the amount in 2013 and 2014 combined.

“There is no magic bullet,” Dir. of ADL Center for Extremism Oren Segal said. “There is no one understanding that will mitigate the threat.”

ADL started tracking Alexander Ciccolo’s Facebook page in 2014. The 23-year old has been accused of plotting an attack for ISIS.

“What struck us about it most was it looked very much like the profiles we see on a day to day basis,” Segal said. “And that’s frankly the trick.”

Ciccolo’s page has since been taken down, but according to ADL, he said he dreamt of stealing AR15s and posted, ‘Allah has apparently decided to speak quite clearly to me.’

“I mean, here’s somebody who is expressing conspiratorial beliefs against the U.S. that are very much in line with ISIS’ anti-American propaganda,” Segal said.

“It happens a lot more than people think,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.

Sheriff Apple said education is one of the most important things. That’s why his office works with the president of the Islamic Center of the Capital District.

“The biggest thing is educating our law enforcement, what to look for, who to talk to, and that’s why it’s so important to get in the Muslim community and other communities that are out there,” Apple said.

Sheriff Apple said they don’t have a team designated solely to monitoring social media accounts. Instead, they work directly with the community.

ADL also said Ciccolo is the fourth person living in the U.S. to plot a terror attack in New England in 2015.

The organization’s full report on an increase in Islamic extremism arrests can be read, here.

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