The FBI have arrested Kansas-based John T. Booker of Topeka, Kansas, resident agency, for allegedly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, maliciously damage and destroy by means of fire and explosive a United States government facility, and attempting to provide material support or resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO).

John T. Booker Jr., was arrested after allegedly attempting to detonate what he believed to be a car bomb in a suicide attack on Ft. Riley, Kansas. The purported vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) was provided by a confidential human source, whom Booker believed to be connected with the ISIL. Booker, according to the complaint, had stated his desire to conduct an insider attack against American soldiers—not intending to kill “privates”—but instead wanting to target someone with power. Because of the FBI’s efforts, the car bomb Booker intended to detonate was inert and would not have exploded. Booker was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, maliciously damage and destroy by means of fire and explosive a United States government facility, and attempting to provide material support or resources to ISIL. The complaint alleges:

According to the complaint, Booker enlisted in the United States Army in Kansas City, Missouri, in or around February 2014, and was scheduled to report for Basic Training on 7 April 2014. On 20 March 2014, Booker admitted to FBI agents that he enlisted with the intent to commit an insider attack against American soldiers. 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. However, his statements were deemed legally insufficient to support charges at the time.

According to the complaint, since on or about 8 October 2014 Booker repeatedly expressed his desire to engage in violent jihad on behalf of ISIL and to join ISIL. On or about 18 December 2014, Booker stated that he believes American soldiers are the enemy of all true Muslims. Booker indicated he had considered a plan to capture a high ranking military officer and force him to say on video that ISIL is here in the United States so that “the kuffars will be afraid.”

According to the complaint, on or about 9 March 2015, Booker stated that he had studied suicide bombing and was inspired by an American brother who delivered a suicide bomb to a military base in Syria. Booker said that he heard a speech by the bomber, felt his words spoke directly to him, and he found the words “perfect” with Allah.

According to the complaint, on or about 10 March 2015 Booker traveled to Freedom Park near Marshall Army Airfield at Fort Riley, Kansas, and created a video delivering an ISIL message. Booker gave his bay’ah to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi (the leader of ISIL) and he encouraged all Muslims watching the video to give bay’ah to Al Baghdadi and to support Al Baghdadi and ISIL however they could.

According to the complaint, on or about 25 March 2015, Booker traveled to several local retailers, purchased components that could be used to make a homemade explosive device, and took them to a rented storage locker. That same day, Booker expressed that he wanted to be the one to push the switch when the time came.

According to the complaint, on or about 26 March 2015, Booker expressed his desire to detonate the homemade explosive device somewhere that would really hurt [the military] and that he wanted to see the fear in the kuffar’s eyes as he pushed the button and they ran for their lives. Booker identified a primary and secondary route to travel from Topeka to Fort Riley, as well as several locations and access gates near the southeast corner of Fort Riley that he believed would be worthwhile targets.

According to the complaint, on or about 8 April 2015, Booker transported the items he purchased to construct the bomb to a second storage locker that held a large amount of inert explosive material that Booker understood was to be used to build a VBIED. Booker then spoke about ensuring his debts were paid so that he could die a shaheed (martyr) and enter paradise. Inside the storage locker, Booker made a second video in front of the stack of inert explosive materials and stated, among other things, “today, Inshallah, we are going to build this bomb with 1,000 pounds of Ammonium Nitrate. Inshallah, this will kill many kuffar.”

OODA Analyst

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