Sept. 24 (UPI) — The FBI arrested a U.S. Army soldier for allegedly discussing plans to bomb an American news network and targeting Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, according to charging documents released Monday.
Jarrett William Smith, 24, was arrested on Saturday after allegedly telling the FBI he provides people with instructions for constructing explosives online.
He was charged with distribution of information related to weapons of mass destruction after offering to teach others how to make bombs and discussing bombing a news network’s headquarters according to the documents released by a federal court in Kansas, where he was stationed at Fort Riley.
The FBI had been begun tracking Smith in March when he was stationed in Texas before being transferred to Kansas in July.
Smith allegedly spoke with an FBI informant in an online chat group about creating a “large vehicle bomb” to target the news network.
In a Sept. 20 conversation with an undercover FBI agent, Smith mentioned O’Rourke when asked about targeting a politician in Texas for an attack, the court documents said.
“Outside of Beto? I don’t know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died,” Smith said.
As early as 2016, Smith had discussed joining the Ukrainian paramilitary group, the Right Sector, with fellow American Craig Lang before becoming a U.S. Army soldier in 2017.
On Dec. 8, 2018, he allegedly discussed his ability to build bombs in a Facebook group chat with Lang.
“Oh yeah, I got knowledge of IEDs for days. We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that,” he wrote.
Beginning last month he began to speak to the undercover FBI agent in an online chat group about finding other “radicals” like him and targeting the group Antifa.
Director of public affairs for the 1st Infantry Division in Kansas, Army Lt. Col. Terence Kelley, confirmed Smith is an active duty soldier and said he cooperated with the FBI in its investigation.
“These allegations violate our Army Values so we take them very seriously,” Kelley said. “Our law enforcement team cooperated with the FBI on his arrest over the weekend.”