Before planning the attack on his base, he steeped himself in O9A propaganda and literature published by the Islamic State, or ISIS, prosecutors said. As part of their inquiry, federal agents later found an iCloud account that Private Melzer used to store an ISIS document describing the murders of U.S. military personnel, prosecutors said.
In April, after he learned that the Army planned to move his unit to a different overseas base, Private Melzer began to plan the assault, prosecutors said. Using Telegram, he provided members of O9A and a related group, the RapeWaffen Division, with sensitive information, including his unit’s destination, its anticipated movements and its surveillance and defensive capabilities.
In one message to O9A members, Private Melzer said his “military training” and “links to other groups” could be useful to them, according to the indictment. A little more than a week later, the indictment says, he sent another message in which he said he was risking his life by passing along the information and was “expecting results.”
Private Melzer hoped the assault, which one of his conspirators likened to a “jihadi attack,” would ignite “a new war” that would cause “mascal,” or mass casualties, the indictment quotes him as saying.
Prosecutors said he also promised to leak more information about his unit once he arrived at the new base so as “to maximize the likelihood of a successful attack.”
The top charge against Private Melzer — conspiring to murder U.S. nationals — carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The other charges against him include conspiring to murder U.S. military service members and providing material support to terrorists.
Prosecutors did not disclose how federal agents and the Army thwarted Private Melzer’s plot. But they said he had confessed to it almost immediately during an interview on May 30 while in custody.
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