Terrorism foiled – FBI says man planned suicide bomb attack at Kansas military base
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) -- A 20-year-old man accused of planning a suicide attack at Fort Riley was arrested Friday while trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb near the Kansas military base as part of a plot to support the Islamic State group, federal prosecutors said.
John T. Booker, of Topeka, was scheduled to appear in federal court in Topeka later Friday. Prosecutors allege he told an FBI informant that he wanted to kill Americans and engage in violent jihad on behalf of the terrorist group, believing the attack was justified because the Quran "says to kill your enemies wherever they are," according to court documents.
The FBI said there was no breach at Fort Riley, which is about 100 miles west of Kansas City. Court documents don't indicate whether Booker has an attorney, and he didn't have a publicly listed phone number.
Booker was recruited to join the Army in February 2014, but came to the attention of federal investigators after posting messages on Facebook. The FBI said a post on March 19, 2014, read: "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." His enlistment was terminated a few days later at the request of the Army Criminal Investigation Command, according to the Army.
Prosecutors allege Booker started meeting with the FBI informant that October. He allegedly told the informant he wanted to make a video threatening Americans and warning them to get their relatives and friends to quit the military. He said his intent was to "scare this country" and to tell the people that, "we will be coming after American soldiers in the streets ... we will be picking them off one by one," according to the court documents.
Booker is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property by means of an explosive, and attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
The FBI has focused attention in the last year on individuals who profess allegiance to the Islamic State and who either make plans to fight alongside jihadists in Syria or commit acts of violence in the United States.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Booker was arrested near Manhattan, a city that borders Fort Riley base.
"We face a continued threat from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of reasons," Grissom said during a news conference Friday morning. "Anyone who tries to harm this nation and its people will be brought to justice."
Grissom declined to take questions during the news conference. His spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press asking about Booker's religious background and when he may have become radicalized.