Federal authorities say 18-year-old Justin Kaliebe, of Babylon and Bay Shore, found his inspiration from many in al-Qaida leadership, including Osama bin Laden.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to travel to Yemen in order to join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
He was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport when he tried to board a flight to Oman.
Federal prosecutors say Kaliebe repeatedly expressed his desire to travel to Yemen to join the terrorist organization.
Court records say he demonstrated extensive knowledge of terrorist organizations and current and former leaders like Anwar al-Awlaki, Omar Abdel Rahman (the "Blind Sheik"), Ayman al-Zawahiri (the current leader of al-Qaeda) and Bin Laden.
The plea came in February, but only was made public now. He faces up to 30 years in prison.