A 20-year-old Kansas man who once allegedly tried to join the U.S. Army so he could kill American soldiers was arrested Friday and charged in a plot to bomb Fort Riley on behalf of Islamic State, federal prosecutors said.
John Booker, also known as Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, believed he and one other man were going to detonate a suicide bomb at Fort Riley near Manhattan, Kan., but he was arrested without incident as part of a months-long FBI investigation.
“We face a continued threat from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of causes,” U.S. Atty. Barry Grissom said. “Anyone who seeks to harm this nation and its people will be brought to justice.”
Booker, a Topeka resident, had spent months plotting with two confidential informants that he believed would support his mission to join Islamic State or commit an attack on U.S. soil, according to the criminal complaint.
He believed the informants had helped him gather 1,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate in order to plant a bomb in a truck they would then drive to Fort Riley, but the bomb components were inert.
The FBI became aware of Booker in March 2014 when he published a series of disturbing Facebook posts expressing his desire to "wage jihad." The FBI became aware of the posts just weeks after Booker had contacted a U.S. Army recruiter in Kansas City, Mo.
He was supposed to report for basic training in April, the complaint said.
“Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!! I am so nervous," Booker wrote on Facebook, according to the complaint. "NOT because I’m scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord.”
FBI agents contacted him days later, and Booker immediately told them he had been inspired by Nidal Hasan, the gunman who killed 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009, to "commit an insider attack against American soldiers."
"Booker stated that if he went overseas and was told to kill a fellow Muslim, he would rather turn around and shoot the person giving orders," the complaint said.
He was denied entry into the Army, but again expressed an interest in committing a terrorist attack when he was contacted by a confidential informant in October 2014, the complaint said. He would spend the next six months plotting the attack, until he was captured Friday, it said.
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