nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Loewen (D. Kan.) (20 year sentence in carbomb plot)

This one dates back to summer and fall 2013, and feels dated in that the sources of inspiration cited are bin Ladin and al-Awlaki rather than ISIL. At any rate, it’s an interesting fact pattern both in that the defendant had access to a secure area of the airport and that the role played by undercover FBI agents was substantial. From the press release:

WASHINGTON – A Wichita, Kansas, man working as an avionic technician for an aeronautics company and possessing restricted access to secure airport areas, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison today for attempting to explode a car bomb at the airport in Wichita, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Barry R. Grissom of the District of Kansas announced.

Terry Lee Loewen, 60, pleaded guilty on June 8 to one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Loewen was arrested in December 2013 when he tried to enter the grounds of the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport for the purpose of exploding a bomb. (The airport was recently renamed the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport).

…In his plea, Loewen admitted he came to the attention of the FBI late in May 2013 when he became a Facebook friend of a person who was posting comments advocating violent jihad. The FBI began communicating with Loewen through an undercover employee. After Loewen expressed his desire to engage in violent jihad, the undercover employee offered to introduce him to someone who could help him do it.

Loewen told the undercover employee he was waiting for what he called “the green light” from Allah to carry out a violent attack on a civilian target. He said that he did not expect to live through any of the attacks he had in mind. Loewen also said that he was inspired by the teachings of Osama bin Laden and Anwar Al Awlaki, and that he had downloaded thousands of pages of information on jihad.

In September 2013, Loewen sent photos of airplanes on the tarmac at the Wichita airport. He commented that he could have “walked over there, shot both pilots … slapped some C4 on both fuel trucks and set them off before anyone even called TSA.”

In October 2013, Loewen met with a second undercover FBI employee who Loewen believed was a “brother” and would help him blow up a plane. Loewen said that he had scouted the airport to determine a time and place for an attack that would be sure to kill as many people as possible.

Loewen assisted the second FBI employee in the final assembly of an improvised explosive device. He was not aware that the explosive materials used in the device were inert. In the early hours of Dec. 13, 2013, the second FBI employee picked up Loewen at a Wichita hotel. They drove to where the bomb was stored and finished wiring the device. When they reached the airport, Loewen used his badge twice at a card reader to attempt to get onto the tarmac before he was arrested.

Loewen was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Monti L. Belot of the District of Kansas.

….

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