Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Former Army cryptographer indicted for trying to help Al Shabaab
A federal grand jury in Maryland formally indicted Craig Baxam, a former U.S. army cryptographer caught trying to sneak across the Kenyan border in January, to join terror group Al Shabaab in Somalia, with attempting to provide material support to the group.
Baxam, a 24-year-old resident of Laurel, MD, was officially charged in January with attempting to provide material support to the group after he was arrested by Kenyan police and returned to Maryland after his arrest, said the FBI.
According to the charges in January, Baxam joined the U.S. Army in 2007 and finished eight months of advanced cryptology and intelligence training. He was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq and reenlisted after completing his tour there. In August 2010, he was deployed for a one year assignment in Korea, but a month before completing that assignment, the FBI said, Baxam left the Army and went home to Maryland in July 2011.
The grand jury indictment unsealed on March 7, maintains similar accusations, that sometime after July 2011, while living in Maryland, Baxam decided to travel to Somalia to join and fight for al Shabaab, which he knew to be a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The indictment also alleges he cashed out his retirement savings, purchased a plane ticket to Kenya, and traveled toward the country’s northern border with Somalia, all in his effort to join and fight for al Shabaab. On December 23, 2011, Kenyan Anti-Terrorism police arrested Baxam near Mombasa, Kenya, for attempting to travel to Somalia to join al Shabaab.
He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, according to the FBI. No court appearance has been scheduled, said the agency, but Baxam has been detained since January 6, when he was returned to Maryland.