IPT, by Abha Shankar • Apr 10, 2015
A year ago, he wanted to join the U.S. Army to kill his fellow soldiers. When that didn’t work, 20-year-old John T. Booker repeatedly expressed his desire to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or commit a suicide attack in the United States on the terrorist group’s behalf.
Booker, a convert to Islam who changed his name to Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, said American soldiers are enemies to Muslims, and the Quran sanctions killing enemies anywhere.
FBI agents arrested Booker Friday morning just outside Fort Riley, a military base near Manhattan, Kan. He was driving a van loaded with what he thought was 1,000 pounds of explosives. In fact, the bomb was rendered inert by FBI agents and informants. He is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to blow up government property and providing material support to the Islamic State.
In conversations with an FBI informant, Booker repeatedly expressed his intent to kill. “I will kill any kuffar. I will follow any place … if I was with [the Islamic State] and they said look, we are going to the White House right now … I would go with them without any question,” he said in November.
He was rejected by the Army in March 2014, after someone alerted authorities to Facebook posts extolling violent jihad and expressing his desire to kill American soldiers. “I will soon be leaving you forever so goodbye! I’m going to wage jihad and hopes that I die.” In another post the same month, he said: “Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!!! I am so nervous. NOT because I’m scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord.”
Booker told FBI agents at that time he wanted to enlist “to commit an insider attack against American soldiers like Major Nidal Hassan had done at Fort Hood, Texas.”
For reasons that aren’t clear, Booker was left alone until October, when an informant started talking with him. Booker suggested several ideas for terrorist attacks, mentioning Fort Riley as an attractive target “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there.”
He also said “he wanted to see the fear in the kuffar’s eyes as he pushed the button and they ran for their lives,” the criminal complaint filed Friday said.
Last month, Booker said he wanted to emulate a suicide truck bombing by an American known as “Jihadi Joe.” Booker bought supplies to make a car-bomb from a list the informants provided. He made two martyrdom videos, including one in which he gave his bayah [pledge of allegiance] to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and urged Muslims to support them.
The other video, recorded Wednesday, shows Booker describing his 1,000-pound ammonium nitrate bomb. “Inshallah, this will kill many kuffar [nonbelievers]. This message is to you America. You sit in your homes and you think that this war is just over in Iraq . . . we today we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep. You think this is just a game … when this bomb blows up and kills as many kuffar as possible, maybe then you’ll realize it.”
Agents arrested him just outside Fort Riley, at a little-used gate Booker thought would get him onto the base.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
- FBI Previously Dismissed Would-Be Fort Riley Suicide Bomber as ‘No Imminent Threat’ Last Year (pjmedia.com)
Kansas: 2nd Muslim charged in Fort Riley jihad mass murder plot (jihadwatch.org)
ISIS Sympathizer John T. Booker Arrested in Fort Riley Suicide Bomb Plot (isisstudygroup.com) –
Assessment: Booker is the 21st person arrested this year in connection with terror plots on US soil on behalf of the Islamic State or having the desire to join the terrorist organization in Syria. We continue seeing the escalation of wannabe jihadists on US soil from being sympathetic to becoming actively involved. Law enforcement from the local through federal level was successful in monitoring Booker and preventing him from carrying out an actual attack. The greater issue at hand is those that are not known without any type of surveillance monitoring their activities.
For every individual that has been arrested in connection with wanting to join the Islamic State or Al Qaeda there are 5 to 10, possibly more, that are unknown and therefore the most dangerous threat to US security. The public and particularly family members need to pay close attention to what their friends or family are getting involved. Years ago we used to teach our kids to stay away from bad influences. Jihadist movements are about as bad of an influence as they can come in contact.
The US government needs to put out public service announcements that are actually effective in deterring people from being susceptible to or joining radical Islamic movements such as Islamic State. In multiple articles we have published we have pointed out the dangers of homegrown terrorist threats on US soil as well as in countries of origin of other wannabe jihadists. This threat continues to grow and will morph and become more problematic if steps are not taken to curtail it now. Each year since 2013 we’ve seen the numbers of jihadists from the US and other western nations growing.
The US government and local community leaders need to be more proactive in engaging the local mosques to get those leaders to engage in moderation of their messages and reach out to wayward youth that may be susceptible to jihadist recruitment methodology. Federal and local law enforcement and intelligence need to have close coordination with the military to ensure potential future attacks are also thwarted.Military personnel need to maintain a high level of vigilance in and around military facility entrances in particular.
As we have seen in numerous other incidents involving lone wolf style attacks or wannabe lone wolves they have been recent converts. These are people that have converted to Islam within the past three years. While this isn’t always the case it is a frequent indicator. Many of them have been at least somewhat vocal in their desire to join in jihad in Syria or Iraq or to conduct an attack on US soil. They either talk to others about it or have blatantly posted about it on social media like Facebook.