Federal authorities arrested a man who allegedly planned an attack on a major U.S. news network. The New York Times cites authorities who said the suspect, a U.S. soldier, also “shared detailed instructions online about how to build explosives and suggested that Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic presidential candidate, could be a potential target.”
“The soldier, Jarrett William Smith, a specialist assigned to the First Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan., had also once expressed a desire to travel to Ukraine to fight with a far-right paramilitary group, the authorities said,” The Times reports. “Specialist Smith, 24, was arrested over the weekend and charged in federal court in Topeka, Kan., on Monday. He faces one count of distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction, according to the United States Attorney’s Office in Kansas.”
If convicted, Smith reportedly could face up to 20 years in prison.
The Times adds: “Before enlisting in the Army, Specialist Smith talked about his desire to fight in Ukraine with a far-right paramilitary group, according to an F.B.I. affidavit in the case that cited his social media exchange with another man who traveled there to fight.”
The exchange apparently took place in 2016, and Smith joined the Army the following year.
“In recent months, Specialist Smith shared on social media specific instructions for how to make bombs, the authorities said. The comments came in group chats and in conversations with a confidential source and an undercover F.B.I. agent, according to the affidavit,” The Times reports. “In August, he discussed a plan to lead an attack in the United States and said he was looking for other ‘radicals’ like himself, the authorities said.”