The FBI has arrested a U.S. soldier who allegedly discussed plans to bomb a major American news outlet.
According to charging documents, Jarrett William Smith planned to bomb a major American news network, travel to Ukraine to fight with violent far-right group Azov Battalion and allegedly distributed information online on how to build bombs, ABC News reports. He also suggested making Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke one of the targets.
Smith reportedly transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas back in July and joined the U.S. military only after first expressing he wanted to fight in Ukraine. On Aug. 19, 2019, Smith allegedly spoke with an FBI informant in an online chat group and discussed his plans for an attack inside the U.S., his search for “radicals” like himself and the possibility of killing members of the group Antifa.
In the conversation, Smith suggested that the major news network’s headquarters would be a target. ”A large vehicle bomb,” he said. ”Fill a vehicle full of [explosives] then fill a ping pong ball with [commonly available chemical] via drilling then injection. Put the ball in the tank of the vehicle and leave. 30 minutes later, BOOM.” In a Telegram conversation with an undercover FBI agent on Sept. 20, Smith allegedly had this exchange: “You got anyone down in Texas that would be a good fit for fire, destruction and death” asked the FBI. Smith responded, “Outside of Beto? I don’t know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died.”
Smith has also allegedly been in contact with another American, #CraigLang, who went to Ukraine and fought with another far-right group, the Right Sector. The two have been speaking since 2016, and on Dec. 8, 2018, Smith allegedly led a group chat on Facebook with Lang that included Smith saying he could teach the group how to build bombs. Smith allegedly said, “Oh yeah, I got knowledge of IEDs for days. We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that.”
On Sept. 21, Smith was arrested, and reports show he admitted to the FBI that he teaches people online how to build bombs. He was charged in Kansas with distributing information relating to weapons of mass destruction.