This is a strange one in terms of the particular kind of weapon at issue, to say the least. And it is an interesting one in terms of the particular charge mentioned (conspiracy to provide material support) in the press release (I don’t have the underlying documents, so I’m not precisely sure how the charge is framed or what predicate offense the material support ostensibly linked to). Anyway, here’s DOJ’s press release:
ALBANY, N.Y. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of York announced that Glendon Scott Crawford, age 49, of Galway, New York and Eric J. Feight, age 54, of Hudson, New York have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The arrests followed a lengthy investigation by the Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force that began in April 2012 when authorities received information that Crawford had approached local Jewish organizations seeking out individuals who might offer assistance in helping him with a type of technology that could be used against people he perceived as enemies of Israel. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of fifteen years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and a term of supervised release of up to five years following any period of incarceration.
As charged in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Albany, the essence of the defendants’ scheme was the creation of a mobile, remotely operated, radiation emitting device capable of killing targeted individuals silently with lethal doses of X-ray radiation. The defendants plotted to use this device against unwitting victims who would not immediately be aware that they had absorbed lethal doses of radiation, the harmful effects of which would only appear days after the exposure. This was an undercover investigation and, unbeknownst to the defendants, the device that the defendants designed and intended to use was rendered inoperable at all times and posed no danger to the public. The allegations contained in the Complaint are mere accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian stated, “This case demonstrates how we must remain vigilant to detect and stop potential terrorists, who so often harbor hatred toward people they deem undesirable. We give special thanks to those who quickly alerted law enforcement authorities to this devious plan. I also commend the members of the Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task force for their unwavering commitment over the past 14 months to uncover the details of this plot, before anyone could be harmed, bringing about today’s arrests.”
Special Agent in Charge Andrew Vale stated, “I would like to thank all members of our Joint Terrorism Task Force for their continued commitment in ensuring the safety of our community against all threats. It is the obligation of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to protect the public when individuals create plans to commit violent acts such as those charged today. I would like to stress that operations to thwart violent plots are only successful with the cooperation of members of the public and with collaboration among federal, state and local agencies.”
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “The interception of this alleged terrorist activity would not have been possible without the determination and cooperation between state police investigators and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. This investigation revealed unthinkable plotting and planning of terrorist activity that targeted unsuspecting innocent citizens. We remain committed to ensuring the safety of all citizens and will work diligently to identify these types of threats and stop those who seek to cause harm.”
The charges today resulted from a long-term investigation conducted by the Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the Department of Homeland Security, New York State Police, Albany Police Department, Troy Police Department, and New York City Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also acknowledged the assistance of the Criminal Division and National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen Green and Richard Belliss, and Counterterrorism Section Trial Attorney Joseph Kaster.