A 20-year-old man has been charged with planning a suicide bomb attack against the Fort Riley military base in Kansas, in an alleged plot to support the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), after an undercover FBI operation, federal prosecutors said Friday.
John T. Booker of Topeka was arrested Friday morning while trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb in a van near the base, according to court documents. The explosives were inert, according to court documents.
Prosecutors allege that he first met with an undercover FBI agent in October and said he wanted to engage in a violent act on behalf of the armed group.
The two met several times over the next few 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 because the Quran “says to kill your enemies wherever they are.”
Court documents also allege that Booker told another person — whom the complaint describes as an FBI confidential source — that “detonating a suicide bomb is his No. 1 aspiration because he couldn’t be captured, all evidence would be destroyed and he would be guaranteed to hit his target.”
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 a designated foreign terrorist organization. Court documents didn’t show that he had an attorney.
The FBI said there was no breach at Fort Riley, which is about 100 miles west of Kansas City.
The FBI has focused attention in the last year on individuals who profess allegiance to ISIL and who make plans to fight in Syria or attack in the United States.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Booker was arrested near Manhattan, Kansas, which 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.”
If convicted, Booker could face a maximum penalty of life in prison, the Justice Department said.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press