A 20-year-old Kansas man allegedly joined the U.S. Army last year so he could launch an ISIS-inspired attack on American soldiers like the deadly strike on Ft. Hood, Texas, in 2009, while another another man was arrested for failing to tell police about the plot, federal authorities announced today.
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John T. Booker of Topeka, Kansas, was arrested after a lengthy FBI investigation and was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempt to provide material support to ISIS, and attempt to destroy U.S. property, officials said. A second man, Alexander E. Blair, 28, was charged with failing to report a felony.
Booker enlisted on Feb. 7, 2014, and was due to ship to basic training on April 7, 2014. However, his enlistment was terminated on March 24, 2014, at the request of the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command because of Booker allegedly making statements that he intended to harm federal personnel.
Since then, he developed a plan to launch a car bomb attack on a military installation in Kansas, prosecutors allege. Blair was aware of the plot and loaned Booker money so he could rent a storage unit where he could store materials for a bomb, according to the indictment.
He's the latest alleged ISIS sympathizer nabbed by the FBI following a string of arrests involving Americans allegedly plotting to join the terror group overseas or launch attacks on their behalf here in the U.S.
It was not immediately clear if Booker or Blair had attorneys.
Booker came to the FBI's attention after an unidentified citizen complained to federal authorities about messages he had posted on his Facebook page.
"Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!!" he allegedly posted on March 19, 2014. "I am so nervous. NOT because I’m scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord."
The next day, FBI agents approached Booker and interviewed him, according to court documents. In that interview, he admitted he enlisted in the U.S. Army months earlier with the intent to commit an insider attack on American forces like the Ft. Hood in 2009, when Maj. Nidal Hassan killed 13 and injured dozens more, court documents show.
Seven month later, an FBI informant began engaging with Booker, and during those conversations Booker "repeatedly expressed his desire to engage in violent jihad on behalf of [ISIS]," the FBI alleges in court documents.
Specifically, on Oct. 10, 2014, Booker told the FBI informant he "joined the United States Army" and "was going to go in there and kill the American soldier," the court documents say.
Booker said he did not want to kill “privates” but hoped to target someone with power, federal authorities allege.
In the past month, with the FBI informant and another FBI cooperator, Booker made two of his own propaganda videos on behalf of ISIS, saying in one: "This message is to America. ... Today we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep," court documents say.
At around the same time, Booker and at least one of the FBI informants allegedly began acquiring components for a bomb. The plan was for Booker to drive the bomb Fort Riley, Kansas, where he would detonate it, according to court documents.
Booker was arrested earlier today outside the military installation, as he was “making final connections” to what he thought was a car bomb, the documents say.
He chose Fort Riley “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there,” the Justice Department alleges.
Exactly a week ago, FBI agents arrested a Philadelphia woman for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to the group now so infamous for its brutal propaganda videos and the havoc it’s wreaking in war-torn Syria and Iraq. The day before, the FBI field office in New York announced it has arrested two ISIS-inspired women for plotting to detonate a bomb inside the United States.
A week earlier, a U.S. Air Force veteran, 28-year-old Tairod Pugh of New Jersey, was indicted for his own ISIS-inspired plans. On his laptop, FBI agents allegedly discovered more than 180 jihadist propaganda videos.
In February, three New York City men were arrested on charges they allegedly conspired to join ISIS but also expressed willingness to carry out attacks on the terror group's behalf in the U.S.
Over the past two years, nearly 50 Americans have been charged with trying to join ISIS or are suspected of taking action inspired by the group.