KANSAS CITY, KS — A 20-year-old man has been charged with planning a suicide bomb attack against a military base in Kansas, in an alleged plot to support the Islamic State group, federal prosecutors said Friday.
John T. Booker, of Topeka, was arrested Friday morning while trying to arm what he thought what a 1,000-pound (450-kilogram) bomb inside a van near the Fort Riley base, according to court documents. He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Topeka later in the day. Court documents don’t indicate whether he has an attorney, and he didn’t have a publicly listed phone number.
Prosecutors allege that he first met with an undercover FBI agent in October and expressed desire to engage in violent jihad on behalf of the terrorist group. The two met several times over the next several months, with Booker discussing ideas for killing Americans, according to the criminal complaint, which states that Booker told the informant that the act was permitted by because the Quran “says to kill your enemies wherever they are.”
Booker also allegedly told the informant that 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.
The FBI said there was no breach at Fort Riley, which is about 100 miles west of Kansas City.
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 the base.
“We face a continued threat from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of reasons,” Grissom said. “Anyone who tries to harm this nation and its people will be brought to justice.”
HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH, Associated Press
Associated Press writers Bill Draper in Kansas City and Roxana Hegeman in Wichita contributed to this report.
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