Three members of a Georgia militia have been arrested and charged in federal court regarding a conspiracy to attack federal agencies with explosive devices. On February 15th two of the men attempted to obtain pipe bombs and thermite devices in order to carry out their attack on the TSA and FEMA and other agencies, according to the US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. The three men allegedly chatted online from January 23rd to February 15th regarding their plans to attack the Federal government.
"This case is a stark reminder of the threat we face not just from abroad, but from within our own borders from our own citizens,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “When plans turn violent, law enforcement must step in to protect our communities from harm. Fortunately, the FBI was able to stop these defendants before they were able to carry out their plans." [...]Fortunately, these idiots were stupid enough to use the internet to broadcast their conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack on our government. How much of a threat the three men actually posed, and how many other members of their group may have been involved in this operation is not known. But as acting FBI Special Agent in Charge, Rex Maxwell noted, the FBI can't wait for such individuals bent on committing terrorist acts to acquire material for making bombs.
Authorities say that between Jan. 23 and Feb. 15, [Brian] Cannon, [Cory] Williamson, and Terry Eugene Peace, the third defendant, participated in online chat discussions about carrying out an operation against the government that was to be launched in February.
Peace encouraged members of the militia to review guerrilla warfare tactics, small unit tactics, accumulate supplies, and prepare their families, authorities charge. Peace also identified targets such as “…TSA, DHS, non-emergency FEMA, road blocks, etc.” The discussions were reported to the FBI, and the FBI then began consensually monitoring the communications.
“The FBI can no longer wait to respond to the aftermath of a radicalized individual's or group's threats. Instead, we have to bring our investigative and analytical assets to bear in getting ahead of those threats and potential attacks and do so within the rule of law.”The two men arrested in Cartersville drove there with the intent to purchase pipe bobs and thermite devices. What they did not know was that the person from whom they requested bomb material was cooperating with the FBI. When they arrived in Cartersville they were handed inert devices which this individual had been given by law enforcement authorities. I am going to take a wild guess that their attorney will raise the defense of entrapment. We'll just have to wait and see how the case proceeds.
However, it again demonstrates that the threat posed by radicalized right wing militias and hate groups is at least as great a threat, if not greater than the threat posed by foreign terrorist organizations. Janet Napolitano should never have been forced by outraged Republican politicians to make any apology for the assessment that right wing terrorists are as much a threat as other terrorists. Indeed, after so many attempts by radicalized right wing individuals and groups to commit acts of terrorism since that report was first issued, I think they owe her an apology, don't you? Not that I expect one to be forthcoming.
UPDATE: Found another report that gives more detail about how this incident occurred:
Cannon told an FBI cooperating source on Feb. 8 that the group was planning to "start a fight" with the government by attacking power grids, transfer stations and water treatment facilities, which they hoped would trigger martial law, according to prosecutors. Cannon said he would invite the FBI's source to a private Facebook group, where plans were being made, according to the government.
Later, on Feb. 15, Cannon told another FBI informant the types of weapons that Peace allegedly wanted. The FBI gave the cooperating informant 12 non-working pipe bombs and two high-temperature thermite devices. The three men met with the cooperating informant, who handed over the thermite devices. The three suspects were arrested as the cooperating informant went to obtain another box of supplies. [...]
One of the FBI's cooperating sources ... talked with Peace over a secured chat website. There, a person using the moniker "Chief" said the group would try to "restrain the violence toward people" and instead would "target infrastructure."
"The group with me will move first mainly to make a point," the person using the handle Chief wrote, according to the FBI. "I stand by what I say. The other groups should start within the next 24 - 48 hours in order to keep the operational tempo up so that when one unit is done another is hitting nonstop."
They were using Facebook. Anyone who uses Facebook knows (or should know) that anything you post on FB is stored as data and used by Facebook itself. It's not exactly a private forum.
UPDATE 2: Changed to title to include the word "Terrorists."