An American soldier was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegedly discussing plans that included bombing a major national news network and traveling to Ukraine to fight with the Azov Battalion, a far-right group known for being violent. He also talked about his intention to target presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and shared bomb-building information online.
Jarrett William Smith, who was stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, joined the US military. However, according to a report by ABC News, he initially expressed an interest in heading to Ukraine to fight.
On August 19, Smith allegedly talked to an FBI informant while participating in an online chat, discussing his plan for an attack on US soil, his search for other “radicals,” and even potentially killing Antifa members.
In a discussion about a major news network being a possible target, Smith allegedly stated, “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, during a Telegram conversation with an undercover FBI agent, the following exchange allegedly occurred:
The FBI agent asked, “You got anyone down in Texas that would be a good fit for fire, destruction and death?”
Smith replied, “Outside of Beto? I don’t know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died.”
Smith is also accused of being in communication with Craig Lang, an American who went to Ukraine to fight with the Right Sector, a far-right group. Reportedly, the two had been in contact since 2016.
In a Facebook group chat on December 8, 2018, Smith and Lang allegedly discussed Smith’s bomb-building capabilities.
“Oh yeah, I got knowledge of IEDs for days,” said Smith. “We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that.”
On September 21, Smith was arrested and was charged with distributing information related to weapons of mass destruction in Kansas. He allegedly confessed to the FBI that he does provide bomb-building instructions to people online.
The charging documents state that at least one of the sets of instructions believed to have been posted by Smith would not have created a viable bomb.