CPD provided ‘personnel’ in alleged ISIS supporter’s arrest

You can’t overlook commitment and training.

Clinton Police Department provided “personnel” to a joint agency terrorism task force that helped bring a federal indictment against Benjamin Alan Carpenter, also known as Abu Hamza, for attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The Knoxville Joint Terrorism Task Force is composed of federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies.

Clinton Police Department has personnel on the task force and has worked toward the apprehension of Carpenter.

“I can’t say more than that,” Clinton Police Chief Vaughn Becker said.

“We do have personnel working with the task force.”

The chief said he could not comment on the role any individual from CPD has with the task force and reiterated, “I really can’t comment on that.”

He did agree, however, that having personnel on the joint task force is a “feather in the cap” for Clinton Police Department.

Carpenter was arrested March 24 when he allegedly met with an individual he thought was connected with ISIS. That individual, however, was a covert FBI agent.

A detention hearing was held April 5, in Knoxville Federal Court.

He has been detained since his arrest pending a decision from Monday’s hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Poplin.

The federal indictment states Carpenter, Knoxville, is the leader of Ahlut-Tawhid Publications, an international organization dedicated to the translation and publication of “official pro-ISIS media in English.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey T. Arrowood of the Eastern District of Tennessee and trial attorneys George C. Raehe and Felicia John Viti of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section represented the United States government.

They asked the court to keep Carpenter in custody, pointing out that he has no family and no children, and “has plans to flee” before his scheduled June 1, 2021, trial.

Carpenter’s attorney, Assistant Federal Defender Benjamin Sharp, said Carpenter was “part nerd” and “part loser,” that he has lived in his mother’s home for the past two years, and does his work from his bedroom.

Carpenter has been on the FBI’s watch list since 2015.