He had plane tickets that connected him through Austria, and a person who would escort him across the border of Syria to a stronghold of the Islamic State. The teen even left his parents a letter explaining what his motivations for this were, said federal officials on Monday.
Mohammed Hamzah Khan, the teen, left a letter saying the western societies of today are more and more immoral. He continued saying he did not want his children exposed to filth like in the U.S.
Khan, who is 19 and a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody over the weekend while at O’Hare Airport in Chicago trying to board his flight bound for Vienna and a connection to Turkey.
During the over three hours he was questioned. Khan told federal authorities he was planning to meet his contact in Istanbul and cross with his contact into Syria or possibly Iraq.
Khan said as well that he expected he would be there to provide a public service as a police officer or do humanitarian work with possibly a role in combat.
While authorities detained Khan at the airport, FBI agents were searching the modest home of his family finding documents handwritten that expressed his support for the militant terrorist group.
During a brief federal court hearing on Monday, Khan with a trimmed beard spoke only to say he understood all the charges against him and the possible penalties he faced.
Prosecutors will ask to have Khan remain in jail as they feel he is a possible flight risk.
While being led out of the courtroom, Khan’s father put an arm around the teen’s mother who was crying. Neither parent commented following the hearing.
This arrest comes as national security officials and officials in counterterrorism have voiced their growing concerns that radicalized U.S. citizens are traveling to join the Islamic State.
In an interview this past Sunday on 60 Minutes, James Comey the Director of the FBI said close to one dozen U.S. citizens are thought to be fighting for the Islamic State in Syria or Iraq.