Kansas man sentenced to 20 years for airport bomb plot

1 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Kan. man gets 20-year sentence for bomb plot.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man’s odyssey into terrorism culminated when he tried to bring a van filled with inert explosives onto the tarmac at the Wichita airport where he worked, an attack prosecutors say was aimed at causing “maximum carnage” during which Terry L. Loewen would die as a martyr. “I expect to be called a terrorist (which I am), a psychopath, and a homicidal maniac,” he wrote in a letter that investigators later found in his house. He came to the FBI’s attention when he became a Facebook friend of an individual who regularly posted information supporting violent jihad, or holy war. Loewen’s case is among at least 462 terror crimes associated with groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State that the U.S. government has prosecuted since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to security issues.

A 20-year prison term would be higher than the national average of 18 years for terrorism undercover operations, said Karen Greenberg, the director of the New York City-based center. “There is something about this case which really stands out, which is the suicide part of it. We don’t see a lot of it,” she said, adding that more than a quarter of terrorism cases involve undercover stings similar to the one which ensnared Loewen. Court documents detail Loewen’s conversations with the undercover FBI agent in which he says he read numerous writings by American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by an unmanned U.S. drone in Yemen in 2011. U.S. officials considered him to be an inspirational leader of al-Qaida, and linked him to the planning and execution of several attacks targeting American and Western interests, including the 2009 Christmas Day attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner.

Loewen originally was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to use an explosive device to damage property and attempting to give material support to al-Qaida.

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