Christopher Cornell, an Islamic State supporter from Green Township, Ohio, is in custody at Boone County Jail, but that didn’t stop him from giving reporters at WXIX an interview.
Cornell has a phone mounted on a rolling cart in his jail cell, but it can only dial out and cannot accept incoming calls.
Last week, Cornell called the WXIX newsroom and said that he planned to place pipe bombs in the U.S. Capitol and the Israeli embassy and shoot people as they fled the buildings before he was arrested. The FBI arrested Cornell on Jan. 14 after he bought firearms and 600 rounds of ammunition in the Colerain Township.
“I got orders from the brothers overseas because I'm with the Islamic State,” Cornell said. "My brothers over there, in Syria and Iraq, gave me specific orders to carry out jihad in the west, so I did so."
Cornell plotted his attack with an FBI informant. He never received authorization to carry out an attack from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and acted on his own accord. Under the name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, Cornell posted videos and statements supporting ISIS online.
In his interview with WXIX, Cornell claimed the United States will be attacked by ISIS: “What do I think is coming? Many things. There will be many, many attacks. Like I said, we are ready for the battle over the Capitol.”
He believes there are other terrorists affiliated with ISIS throughout the U.S. “We are pretty strong," he said. "Yes, yes. In every state like I said. We're in Texas. We're in Ohio. We're in New York City. We're in Washington, DC. We're in every single state you can name, just about.”
Cornell said his beliefs were motivated by the U.S.’s ongoing fight against extremism. "I'm very dedicated to establish the Sharia in America, to wage war on the kafir [an Arabic term for someone who is not Muslim] and raise the word of Allah above all."
Cornell has pleaded not guilty to charges that include attempted murder of government employees and officials, solicitation to commit a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of an attempted crime of violence.
Though he’s facing life in prison, Cornell said he’s not afraid: "I'm not afraid of the punishment. You must understand this. The punishment I receive in here doesn't come close to the punishment that people like Barack Obama is going to face."