Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom of the District of Kansas and Special Agent in Charge Eric K. Jackson of the FBI’s Kansas City Division announced that a Topeka, Kansas, man has been charged in federal court with attempting to detonate a vehicle bomb at Fort Riley military base near Manhattan, Kansas. The defendant was arrested as part of an FBI investigation, and the device used by the defendant was, in fact, inert.
John T. Booker Jr., 20, of Topeka, Kansas, was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today with 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 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Booker is expected to make an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree of the District of Kansas in federal court in Topeka.
Booker was arrested this morning near Manhattan, as he completed his final preparations to detonate a vehicle bomb targeting U.S. military personnel.
“As alleged in the complaint, John Booker attempted to attack U.S. military personnel on U.S. soil purportedly in the name of ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Thanks to the efforts of the law enforcement community, we were able to safely disrupt this threat to the brave men and women who serve our country. Protecting American lives by identifying and bringing to justice those who wish to harm U.S. citizens remains the National Security Division’s number one priority.”
“We face a continued threat from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of causes,” said U.S. Attorney Grissom. “Anyone who seeks to harm this nation and its people will be brought to justice.”
“I want to assure the public there was never any breach of Fort Riley Military Base, nor was the safety or the security of the base or its personnel ever at risk,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jackson. “Recently the Command Staff at Fort Riley has been working hand in hand with law enforcement to ensure the utmost security and protection for the men and women who serve our country, and the surrounding community that supports the base.”
Booker is alleged to have spent months discussing multiple plans before deciding on a plan that involved the execution of a suicide bombing mission.
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.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tony Mattivi and David Smith of the District of Kansas, and Trial Attorneys Josh Parecki and Rebecca Magnone of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The charges merely contain allegations of criminal activity.
A Kansas man was arrested on Friday as part of an FBI sting operation in which he was plotting a suicide car bombing at Fort Riley army base in support of the Islamic State militant group, prosecutors said.
John T. Booker, Jr., 20, of Topeka, had arrived at the Kansas base with two undercover FBI agents to detonate what he did not realize was an inert bomb, prosecutors said.
Booker was charged with three criminal counts including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to Islamic State fighters, who have captured parts of Iraq and Syria over the past year and have sympathizers in several countries.
A Pakistani court has freed the alleged mastermind of the 2008 attacks on Mumbai that killed 166 people.
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a senior commander of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, was released on bail Thursday, officials say.
“I don’t know where he will go now,” said his lawyer Malik Nasir Abbas.
Lakhvi had been in prison since February 2009, when he and six others were charged in connection with the 60-hour assault on India’s commercial capital in 2008.
When hundreds of Islamic State militants muscled into the Yarmouk refugee camp last week and planted their black flags amid the charred, blown-out buildings, it was the latest trial for the remaining Palestinians who for two years have endured a suffocating government siege, starvation and disease.
The dire situation in the camp appears certain to deteriorate as the extremist group looks to consolidate its hold and establish a presence near the heart of the Syrian capital.
It is a high-stakes fight whose outcome may determine the direction of the civil war around Damascus, where President Bashar Assad has maintained a firm grip despite the presence of thousands of rebels in surrounding suburbs.
Proving once more that the right wing “only military tribunals work for terror trials” saw from the Bush II years was entirely wrong, here we see that civilian trials do work for terrorism.*
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all charges Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing by a federal jury that now must decide whether the 21-year-old former college student should be executed.
Tsarnaev folded his arms, fidgeted and looked down at the defense table as he listened to one guilty verdict after another on all 30 counts against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of those counts are punishable by death.
The jury took a day and a half to reach its verdict, which was practically a foregone conclusion, given his lawyer’s startling admission during opening statements that Tsarnaev carried out the attack with his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan.
*disclaimer: I am a recovering wingnut, and I once supported this partisan view myself.
In the past two years alone, bare-bones Shabab teams of young gunmen have struck across Kenya, at a mall, on buses, at a quarry, in a coastal village and last week at a university, where four militants with rudimentary assault rifles killed 142 students.
In all, they have slaughtered hundreds of people and shaken Kenya, an economic powerhouse and cornerstone of stability in this part of Africa, with just a few men and a handful of light weapons.
“I call it the dumbing down of terrorism,” said Matt Bryden, a researcher in Nairobi who has been working on Somalia for more than 20 years. “They keep it simple. They’re lightly armed, highly disciplined and relatively well trained.”
“They’ve definitely lost some of their major revenue flows,” he added. “But they’ve managed to survive a lean season.”
When Abu Hamza, a former Syrian rebel, agreed to join the Islamic State, he did so assuming he would become a part of the group’s promised Islamist utopia, which has lured foreign jihadists from around the globe.
Instead, he found himself being supervised by an Iraqi emir and receiving orders from shadowy Iraqis who moved in and out of the battlefield in Syria. When Abu Hamza disagreed with fellow commanders at an Islamic State meeting last year, he said, he was placed under arrest on the orders of a masked Iraqi man who had sat silently through the proceedings, listening and taking notes.
Abu Hamza, who became the group’s ruler in a small community in Syria, never discovered the Iraqis’ real identities, which were cloaked by code names or simply not revealed. All of the men, however, were former Iraqi officers who had served under Saddam Hussein, including the masked man, who had once worked for an Iraqi intelligence agency and now belonged to the Islamic State’s own shadowy security service, he said.
As families and friends of the Garissa University attack victims lined-up at the Nyayo National Stadium to provide details of their loved ones, pressure mounted on the government to fight terrorists who have pledged further attacks on the country.
“We’ll not (stand for) continuing losing our children in cold blood because the government has failed to protect them,” lawmaker Chris Wamalwa visiting families at the Stadium.
He blamed anti-terrorist police unit for failing to prevent the attack and urged the president to disband the unit and form another tasked fighting terrorism. Lawmakers also called for increased cross-border surveillance - the terrorists are believed to be of Somali origin, according to police.
Six people who hid in a kosher supermarket refrigerator during Islamist attacks in Paris are suing French media for broadcasting their location live during the siege.
Images broadcast from the scene on January 9, when gunman Amedy Coulibaly stormed into the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket, killing four and taking others hostage, “lacked the most basic precautions” and endangered those still alive inside, said a lawyer representing the group, Patrick Klugman.
Mr Klugman singled out French 24-hour news channel BFMTV, which revealed live on air that the group - including a three-year-old child and a one-month-old baby - was hiding from Coulibaly in the cold room, where they were taken by one of the supermarket’s employees.
Build a wall the length of the border with Somalia. Recruit and train up thousands of new security officers. Give them better tactics and equipment.
Kenya’s politicians and public have struggled with these ideas over and over.
But the blood of 147 people slaughtered and 79 more injured, when Al-Shabaab opened fire at a college campus in Garissa on Thursday, has them debating them with renewed vigor.
Many Kenyans had believed that security improved enough since Al-Shabaab held Nairobi’s Westgate Mall under siege for four days in September 2013, resulting in the deaths of 67 people.