The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested a member of the U.S. Army who allegedly talked about his plans to bomb a major American news network. The soldier also allegedly planned to travel to the Ukraine in order to fight with a violent far-right terrorist group and suggested going after former representative Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).
Details of the arrest and alleged anti-media plot were originally posted by ABC News’ Mike Levine via Twitter:
The FBI has arrested a member of U.S. Army who allegedly discussed plans to bomb a major U.S. news network, discussed traveling to Ukraine to fight with violent far-right group, and allegedly distributed info online on how to build bombs. He also allegedly mentioned @BetoORourke.
— Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) September 23, 2019
The story was quickly confirmed by CBS Evening News. Per CNN, it was CNN that was talked about as a possible target of a bomb.
CNN: The Army soldier charged today with distributing bombmaking instructions, discussed targeting CNN with a vehicle bomb, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) September 23, 2019
According to Levine, Jarrett William Smith discussed his bomb-making ability on a Facebook group chat with Craig Lang, an American who previously traveled to the Ukraine in order to fight with another far-right organization.
Lang was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army after attempting to murder his wife. He received a seven-month jail sentence. After losing a series of jobs after that, Lang eventually went to fight with the fascist-adjacent Right Sector in Ukraine.
Smith and Lang had allegedly been in contact since 2016. In December 2018, Smith allegedly told Lang: “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.”
In August of this year, Smith allegedly spoke with an informant working for the FBI. The details of that conversation allegedly concerned a planned attack inside the United States, Smith’s search for fellow right-wing “radicals” and possibly murdering anti-fascists.
Concerning the plot against the news outlet, Smith allegedly said:
A large vehicle bomb. 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.
On September 20, Smith allegedly engaged in an encrypted conversation with an undercover FBI agent via the Telegram app. The alleged exchange is as follows:
FBI: You got anyone down in Texas that would be a good fit for fire, destruction and death?
Smith: Outside of Beto? I don’t know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died.
This is a breaking story. More details will be added as additional information becomes available.
[image via Scott Olson/Getty Images]