Federal authorities have charged a U.S. Army soldier with bomb-sharing instructions online and said he also discussed the possible bombing of a media organization and killing left left-leaning activists.
Jarrett William Smith, a 24-year-old private first class infantry solider from South Carolina stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, was arrested on Saturday.
A criminal compliant indicated that Smith discussed his plan to kill far-left-leaning “antifa” activists and described how the bomb can be triggered by calling a cell phone. Smith was accused of making a post on Facebook about traveling to Ukraine to fight with a preliminary group known as Azov Batallion.
Court papers also mentioned that Smith suggested targeting a major news network with a car bomb. The news network was not identified.
Back in August, Smith discussed in a online group chat about a confidential source plan to conduct an attack within the United States and indicated he was looking for more “radicals” like himself. He also talked about destroying nearby cell towers or local news station.
Before he was arrested, Smith told investigators in a interview that he knows how to make improvised explosives devices and that he routinely provide instruction on building them. He did this to cause “chaos”.
Lt. Col. Terry Kelley, with the 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs at Fort Riley, said in a statement that Smith has been assigned to Fort Riley since June 2019. Smith was previously stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, from November 2017 to June 2019. He then entered the Army from Conway, South Carolina, as an infantryman and completed training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He has not deployed.
Smith talked about using household chemicals and commonly available equipment to make a bomb.
“That’s the best way to fight people,” Smith is quoted in the complaint. “Making AK-47s out of expensive parts is cool, but imagine of you will if you were going to Walmart instead of gun store to buy weapons.”
During that same exchange, Smith allegedly sent the agent instructions for building a “Middle East style bomb”. If this bomb is big enough, it can destroy U.S. military vehicles. An FBI bomb technician later determined the specific instructions could have constructed a viable device.
When the undercover agent asked Smith if there was anyone in Texas that would be a good fit for “fire, destruction and death,” Smith reportedly replied, “Outside of Beto? I don’t know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died” — an apparent reference to former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
According to the U.S. Attorney Office, if Smith is convicted, he could possibly face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.