-- A Florida man who claims credit for inspiring the attempted terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, four months ago was arrested by the FBI today for allegedly urging an attack in Kansas City during a commemoration of the 9/11 attacks using a bomb with rat poison-laced shrapnel, according to the FBI.
The arrest came just hours before the head of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division issued a notice to agents across the country, urging them “to exercise vigilance” even though “there are no specific threats” against the United States at home or abroad tied to the 14th anniversary of the tragedy.
“[I] would like to remind offices of the role social media can play in furthering terrorist rhetoric and inciting violence,” Assistant Director Michael Steinbach wrote in his message. “Individuals inspired by this messaging can rapidly mobilize to violence.”
Earlier today, 20-year-old Joshua Ryne Goldberg was arrested at his home in Orange Park, Florida.
In late July, the FBI directed a confidential source to make contact with him after he posted extremist messages online posing as a Lebanese refugee living in Australia, according to charging documents.
By mid-August, Goldberg was expressing his hope that “there will be some jihad on the anniversary of 9/11,” the charging documents say.
Within days, Goldberg sent the source links to instructions that he could use to launch his own bombing attack, according to the FBI.
“We could make pipe bombs and detonate them at a large public event,” Goldberg allegedly wrote. “It needs to be big.”
Goldberg allegedly said that a pressure cooker should be filled with nails, metal and other items dipped in rat poison "in order to inflict more casualties," the complaint says.
"Dipping the items in rat poison increases the chances of killing those impacted by the nails, glass and metal by possibly preventing any resulting wounds from clotting," the documents say.
Authorities said Goldberg then told the source he found “the perfect place” to put a pressure-cooker bomb: the Kansas City 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb, when firefighters and others honor the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with what the event calls “a day of extreme physical challenge and intense reflection.”
“Shrapnel, blood, and panicking kuffar [non-believers] will be everywhere,” Goldberg allegedly wrote the source on Aug. 28.
Goldberg has been charged with distributing information relating to explosives and weapons of mass destruction. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison.
In June, Goldberg allegedly boasted online that before the foiled Garland, Texas, attack, he put a message online calling for attacks on the Muhammad art exhibit being held there.
The FBI says that the morning of the Texas attack, one of the shooters, Elton Simpson, re-posted a Twitter message from Goldberg calling for “kuffar” to “die in your rage!”
Simpson and another man were killed by police after they opened fire on the officer and another security guard at the event.