The Department of Justice has sentenced a Cincinnati-area man to 30 years in prison for plotting to kill federal officials in the name of the Islamic State group.

Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested Jan. 14, 2015, by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces following an investigation into his intentions to kill officers and employees at the U.S. Capitol during the State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2015.


According to Cornell’s plea agreement, he conducted online weapon research, studied bomb construction and surveyed potential targets in the Washington, D.C., area between August 2014 and January 2015. He was in possession of two semi-automatic rifles and approximately 600 rounds of ammunition at the time of his arrest.

Cornell also admitted that the purpose of the attack was to provide material support and resources to ISIS. Following his arrest, Cornell posted online statements calling for others to join his jihad against the United States.

Jihad is an Arabic noun that refers to the Islamic concept of a struggle for good, but can also refer to a holy war, which is a meaning extremist Muslims often use.

"The seriousness of this crime is apparent," said U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio. "Cornell plotted to commit violence as a symbolic attack on the United States as a whole. An attempt to murder another individual is horrific enough and justifies a significant sentence. But this was more than that. Cornell wanted to inflict pain on the spirit of the entire country and terrorize its leadership. Today’s sentence appropriately holds him accountable for that."