The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested a U.S. Army soldier who allegedly discussed bombing a major news network and suggested targeting 2020 White House hopeful and former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX).
On Monday, 24-year-old Jarrett William Smith, who transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas, in July, was charged in a federal court with distributing information about weapons of mass destruction via social media.
“A large vehicle bomb. Fill a vehicle full of [explosives] then fill a ping pong ball with [commonly available chemical] via drilling then injection,” Smith allegedly said when discussing how he would target a news network. “Put the ball in the tank of the vehicle and leave. 30 minutes later, BOOM.”
FBI investigators say Smith expressed interest on Facebook about joining the Ukrainian paramilitary group the Azov Battalion and offered instructions on how to build explosive devices “in the style of the Afghans.”
On August 21st, the suspect allegedly talked about how to make a car bomb with an undercover agent. He also explained how to make an explosive that could be detonated with a mobile phone.
On Telegram, a Russian social media network, Smith allegedly had the following exchange with an undercover agent on September 20th.
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.
Further, investigators said the suspect talked about killing members of the far-left organization Antifa.
Smith faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.