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FBI wants to access terror suspect’s Skype records

Alexander Ciccolo is being held with no bail.

The FBI is investigating whether a third, unknown person discussed an alleged terrorism plot with Alexander Ciccolo, the Western Massachusetts man accused of planning to attack a state university with guns and explosives on behalf of the Islamic State terror group.

FBI Special Agent Jeffrey J. Lawrence said in an affidavit filed in US District Court in Springfield last week that Ciccolo told a witness who was cooperating with the FBI that he had discussed his terrorism plans with one other person.

“There was a brother who wanted to be involved a while ago and he has not been responding to my messages,” Ciccolo told the witness, who provided copies of the July 1 online conversation to authorities.


Lawrence said in the affidavit, “It appears as though Ciccolo was telling [the cooperating witness] that at least one other individual had previously indicated that he wanted to be involved in his terrorism plot.”

The affidavit was part of an application for a search warrant authorities filed with the court. Officials are seeking access to Ciccolo’s online Skype account as part of their investigation into the alleged terror plot.

No one else has been charged in Ciccolo’s alleged scheme.

The witness who is cooperating with the FBI had alerted authorities to the alleged plot in June 2015, then at the FBI’s request agreed to provide weapons to Ciccolo in a sting operation.

Ciccolo, 24, of Adams, was arrested in 2015 after he had taken possession of the weapons – two rifles and two handguns, authorities said.

Ciccolo also allegedly built several Molotov cocktails and purchased a pressure cooker to build a bomb, similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon attacks, according to authorities. He had not obtained explosive powder, however, according to court filings.

The Globe has previously reported that Ciccolo’s father is a Boston police captain who alerted the FBI to his son’s desire to fight for the Islamic State, prompting the investigation.


Ciccolo has been held without bail on charges of illegally possessing a firearm and assault, for allegedly stabbing a nurse with a pen after his arrest.

Prosecutors say they may seek additional charges against him, including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

His attorney, David Hoose, said he could not comment on the affidavit because of the ongoing case. He has argued that the FBI created the alleged terrorism plot by providing Ciccolo with weapons.

Lawrence said in the affidavit supporting the application for the search warrant that Ciccolo’s Skype account could contain “evidence, fruits, and instrumentalities of these crimes” in his ongoing investigation.

Skype is a social-networking website that allows users to participate in one-on-one and group video calls and messages over the Internet. According to Lawrence’s affidavit, terror groups such as the Islamic State are increasingly using social networking sites such as Skype as communication platforms to spread ideology and recruit supporters.

The affidavit also alleges that Ciccolo discussed the idea of creating a local terrorism cell to carry out local attacks.

The search warrant seeks to have Microsoft – which owns Skype – provide the government with logs and the content of conversations and written messages made on Ciccolo’s account, as well as passwords. The account was created under the username alialamriki1, which is similar to what Ciccolo used for other social-media accounts.


A spokesperson for Microsoft could not be reached for comment Sunday, though the company has said before that it provides law enforcement with whatever information is legally required and technically feasible. The company has been criticized before by privacy advocates who argued that the company redesigned Skype to make it easier for law enforcement to review user information.

According to Lawrence’s affidavit, authorities discovered some of Ciccolo’s Skype chats with a woman, Nicolette Baboolal, who had been engaged to marry Ciccolo and lives in the Caribbean nation Trinidad and Tobago.

According to the affidavit, Baboolal criticized Ciccolo’s rants about war and violence, saying they were not the true teachings of Islam. She threatened to end their relationship.

“Your whole motto is kill kill kill kill,” she had written to him on March 11, 2015, four months before his arrest, according to the affidavit. “That is worrying behavior.”

Milton Valencia can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MiltonValencia