from the feeling-safer dept
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.There have been a bunch of these arrests lately of random people supposedly planning to do something big to join ISIS. But, looking at the details in the actual complaint, it quickly becomes clear that this is yet another of the FBI's own plots. Yes, Booker appears to be an idiot who publicly proclaimed that he wanted to blow stuff up to join in the whole jihad thing, but his actual ability to do anything was basically non-existent until the FBI gave him two helpers who presented the details of the plan.
Booker was arrested this morning near Manhattan, as he completed his final preparations to detonate a vehicle bomb targeting U.S. military personnel.
First, Booker did try to do something himself, but blabbed so much about it that the FBI came and spoke to him, ruining his original plan (though they didn't arrest him then):
John T. Booker, Jr., a/k/a “Mohammed Abdullah Hassan,” (“Booker”) is a 20-year-old United States citizen who is currently living in Topeka, Kansas. In or around February 2014, Booker had been recruited by the United States Army in Kansas City, Missouri, and he was scheduled to report for Basic Training on April 7, 2014.Okay, so we've established that Booker is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at least was willing to state his idiotic plans publicly and then admit them to the FBI. But other than denying him entry into the military, they didn't do anything else... other than try to set him up for a big arrest later. That's because a few months later, they sent an FBI informant to befriend Booker and urge him to move forward with his "blow shit up" plans:
On March 15, 2014, Booker publicly posted on Facebook: “I will soon be leaving you forever so goodbye! I’m going to wage jihad and hopes that i die.” On March 19, 2014, Booker publically posted on Facebook: “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.” That same day, the FBI became aware of Booker’s postings based on a citizen’s complaint. The FBI was able to identify Booker based on the publically available content on his Facebook account. On March 20, 2014, Booker was interviewed by FBI agents related to his Facebook postings. After being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights, Booker admitted that he enlisted in the United States Army with the intent to commit an insider attack against American soldiers like Major Nidal Hassan had done at Fort Hood, Texas. Booker stated that if he went overseas and was told to kill a fellow Muslim, he would rather turn around and shoot the person giving orders. Booker stated that he formulated several plans for committing jihad once enlisted, including firing at other soldiers while at basic training at the firing range or while at his pre-deployment military base after completing his initial military training. Booker clarified that he did not intend to kill “privates,” but that he instead wanted to target someone with power. Booker also said that he did not intend to use large guns, but instead a small gun or a sword. Booker was subsequently denied entry into the military.
Since on or about October 8, 2014, Booker has engaged with an individual who is, unbeknownst to Booker, an FBI Confidential Human Source (CHS 1). Booker has repeatedly expressed to CHS 1 his desire to engage in violent jihad on behalf of ISIL. For example, during a face to face conversation on October 10, 2014, Booker told CHS 1 in relevant part, that he: “was in jihad before, okay. I got captured. Okay, a long story short the people at the Masjid don’t like me because I support al Qa’ida openly. I’m not afraid, I was captured before . . . I was captured by FBI before . . . because I was with al Qa’ida.” Booker stated that he “joined the United States Army” and he “hadn’t really completed, I hadn’t really started . . . I was going to go in there and kill the American soldier.” Booker told CHS 1 that he dreamt of being in the Middle East, and then he showed CHS 1 a video on his phone of Muslims fighting American forces in Iraq. Booker said he dreamt about going with the fighters and wished he was with them. Booker told CHS 1 that he had heard about Americans joining ISIL and that Booker wanted to join, but he didn't know anyone who could help him do so.So, here we have Booker admitting that he doesn't actually have the capabilities to join ISIS or do anything really. But, have no fear, because the FBI informant is there to help:
That same day, CHS 1 told Booker that he had a “cousin” (who is also a FBI Confidential Human Source, hereinafter referred to as CHS 2) who could get people overseas and asked Booker what he wanted to do. Booker answered, “Anything. Anything you think is good. I will follow you.”So, now we've got a plot in which two of the plotters are actual FBI informants, while the only other guy is a guy who clearly has no idea what he's doing:
On or about March 9, 2015, while under FBI surveillance, CHS 1 introduced Booker to CHS 2, who he explained was a high ranking sheik planning terrorist acts in the United States.Then, the plan is set in motion, with the informants basically directing Booker in what he should do -- saying that they would give him the equipment needed to build explosives, and that he should rent a storage space to keep the stuff:
Previously, CHS 1 told Booker that he (CHS 1) may send him some items for Booker to hold until the next time CHS 1 visited – perhaps a package or something in the mail. Booker told both CHS 1 and CHS 2 that his house was not safe to store things because he shares it with his cousin. At that point, CHS 2 suggested that Booker may want to rent a storage locker.Booker even relied on the two FBI informants to build the (totally fake) bomb he was going supposedly going to use, and to give him a map of where he was to set it off:
On or about March 25, 2015, CHS 1 met with Booker. During this meeting, CHS 1 told Booker that he had been “selected” to accompany Booker on his suicide mission. CHS 1 provided Booker with a list of supplies that they needed to purchase in order to build the bomb.
The second storage unit held a large amount of inert explosive material that Booker understood was to be used to build their Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (“VBIED”). Pursuant to Booker’s plan, Booker understood that CHS 1 and CHS 2 would build the VBIED, Booker and CHS 1 would eventually deliver it to Fort Riley, and Booker would detonate the VBIED in a suicide attack. CHS 1 and CHS 2 then provided Booker with a map of the area of Fort Riley at Booker’s request.And then, just this morning, one of the FBI informants was needed to tell Booker how the device worked so he could "blow it up."
On or about April. 10, 2015, Booker and CHS 1 drove to a location near Junction City, Kansas where they met CHS 2. CHS 2 met Booker and CHS 1 in the van in which CHS 2 had purportedly constructed the VBIED. CHS 2 explained the function of the inert VBIED to Booker and demonstrated how to arm the device. CHS 1 and Booker then drove the VBIED to an area near Fort Riley that Booker believed to be a little used utility gate that would allow them to enter Fort Riley undetected so that they could find an area to detonate the VBIED that would kill as many soldiers as possible. While Booker was making final connections to arm the inert VBIED at the gate, he was taken into custody without incident by members of the FBI.And thus, he's been arrested. It seems pretty clear that he's not a fan of the US, but this story matches many previous stories of the FBI stopping its own plots, in which the people they arrest tend to be hapless individuals with no ability to carry out any sort of terrorist attack on their own... until the FBI shows up and provides them with the fake tools to do so.