A Tennessee woman is headed to federal prison stemming from a conviction involving crimes related to aiding terrorist organizations.
“A Sparta, Tennessee, woman was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Friday, to 66 months in prison to be followed by a term of supervised release of 15 years, for concealing material support and resources intended to be provided to a Foreign Terrorist Organization …” according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Georgianna Giampietro was indicted for her crimes in 2019 and officially charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. In January, she was charged with a related crime – concealment of material support and resources intended to be provided to a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
She pleaded guilty in January.
“According to court documents, in September 2018, Giampietro had conversations with an undercover agent who expressed interest in travelling [sic] to Syria to join Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” said the release. “The undercover agent told Giampietro that her husband swore an oath of allegiance to HTS and that he intended to fight on behalf of HTS.”
Giampietro then provided the undercover agent with advice and techniques for joining the terrorist group, including severing ties with friends and family six to eight months in advance, purchasing new phones before travel and ways to enter Syria.
“In subsequent conversations with the undercover agent, Giampietro offered to communicate with her contacts on their behalf to assist them in safely traveling to Syria to join HTS. Giampietro engaged in a series of communications with an individual whom she knew could assist the undercover [agent] and her husband for such purpose,” the release said.
During the course of her communications with the agent, she used an unspecified end-to-end encryption application for messaging, which would automatically delete messages with the agent after a certain period of time.
Eventually, Giampietro connected the undercover agent with her contact in Syria, promising that the contact could take the agent to fight alongside HTS.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and others investigated the crime.
HTS was founded in 2017 during the height of the Syrian civil war when several terrorists groups, including the formerly powerful al-Nusra Front, joined forces.
The organization has been described as a proxy group for al-Qaeda in Syria.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].