A US soldier arrested for sharing information on how to build bombs also allegedly planned to travel to Ukraine to fight with the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, and plotted to bomb a major American news network, according to the FBI.
Jarrett William Smith, a soldier stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, has been arrested after unwittingly sharing bomb-making instructions with an FBI informant. The private first class is charged with one count of “distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction,” according to charging documents released Monday.
Smith reportedly planned to travel to Ukraine to fight alongside the far-right Azov Battalion and also talked about a plot to blow up the headquarters of an American news network with “a large vehicle bomb” in his conversations with the informant.
“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,” Smith allegedly told the informant in an online chat group, where he said he was looking to meet more “radicals” like himself. He also floated other violent possibilities – including killing members of Antifa or Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, and blowing up a cell phone tower.
Smith reportedly admitted that he provided his online contacts with instructions on how to build bombs when he was arrested on Saturday. “I got knowledge of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] for days,” he said in a Facebook group chat. “We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that.” He also allegedly provided “very specific instructions” for building bombs out of household chemicals and devices, which an FBI bomb technician confirmed were viable.
Also present in the group, according to the FBI, was an associate and fellow US vet, Craig Lang, from whom Smith may have gotten the idea to travel to Ukraine. Lang had fought with Right Sector, another neo-Nazi group, in Ukraine and discussed having Smith vetted by “the guy that screens people,” warning his friend that he “may also be asked to kill certain people who become on the bad graces of certain groups.”
Smith was hoping to “cause chaos,” according to an affidavit from one of the arresting officers, which claimed “he provides this information even to individuals who tell him they intend to use the information to cause harm to others.” He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
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