Kansas recruit charged with planning bomb attack on Fort Riley
Fort Riley, Kansas -A 20 year old Kansas man was arrested Friday morning after a long FBI investigation as he prepared to detonate a VBIED (vehicle borne improvised explosive device) at Fort Riley. The bomb had been rendered inert while he was under FBI surveillance.
John Thomas Booker Jr, alias Mohammed Abdullah Hassan was arrested for one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives), one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS).
A long plot time
Booker plotted for months to become a suicide bomber in support of ISIS. He created his own propaganda video, acquired the components for his bomb, and even rented a storage facility for the parts.
Booker joined the Army in February of 2014, and was due to report for basic training on April 7, 2014. But when he appeared on Social media praising bin Laden and pledging to die for jihad, the Army discharged him.
His plan was to detonate the VBIED at Fort Riley, and die in the explosion himself, killing American soldiers in the explosion.
From the DOJ press release:
The complaint alleges Booker told another person “that detonating a suicide bomb is his number one aspiration because he couldn’t be captured, all evidence would be destroyed, and he would be guaranteed to hit his target.” Booker identified Fort Riley as a good target, “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there,” the complaint alleges.
It is alleged that since March 2015, Booker plotted to construct an explosive device for an attack on American soil. It is alleged he repeatedly stated that he desired to engage in violent jihad on behalf of ISIL. Over a period of months, he took a series of actions to advance his plot. As alleged in the complaint, Booker assisted in acquiring components for a vehicle bomb, produced a propaganda video, rented a storage locker to store components for the explosive device, identified Fort Riley as the target and talked about his commitment to trigger the device himself and become a martyr.
FBI Evidence Response Teams are executing search warrants related to the case.
If convicted, Booker would face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, including members from the FBI’s Kansas City Division, the Topeka Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol.
No danger to the military base
He was due to appear Friday afternoon in federal court in Topeka.
The FBI was quick to point out that Booker was under surveillance for a long time, and the military base was never in danger.
“Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush! I am so nervous. NOT because I’m scared to die but I am EAGER to meet my lord.” Booker’s Facebook post 3/19/2014