By Austin Nolen
The United States Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia has confirmed that the case against Keonna Thomas, the Philadelphia woman who allegedly tried to join the Islamic State, will, in some way, involve classified information. In The Declaration‘s last piece on the case, I referenced a tense exchange between defense attorneys and an FBI agent over whether one of Thomas’ contacts had actually been located in a Syrian terrorist camp. I wrote that the exchange suggested that intelligence or other sensitive information might crop up in the case.
In two filings made last Friday, federal prosecutors requested a pretrial conference to discuss discovery issues related to classified material and the appointment of a Classified Information Security Officer, or a person in charge of securing classified material filed with the court. This does not necessarily mean that any of the evidence against Thomas is itself classified; defense attorneys may seek various government records relating to the case, including records that might show Thomas’ innocence, and some of these records may be classified.
Thomas was indicted on April 23rd of one count of attempting to aid the Islamic State. She is scheduled to be arraigned on that charge this Thursday at 10:30am. According to her defense team, Thomas plans to plead not guilty. The Declaration has also filed a FOIA request for the FBI’s case file against Thomas, and will continue to cover this case going forward.