Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, who was arrested Friday by the FBI for trying to detonate what he believed to be a car bomb at an Oakland, California Bank of America, is reportedly a Taliban sympathizer who chose Oakland as the site of his planned terrorist attack because he believed Oakland to be a “center of protest.”
Llaneza, a former Marine who refers to himself as “Tarq Kahn” and who told FBI agents that he supports the Taliban, tried to detonate a vehicle-borne explosive device at an Oakland Bank of America branch.
He was arrested when it turned out the bomb he was trying to detonate was, in fact, planted by the FBI as part of an anti-terrorism sting operation.
“Llaneza was charged this morning by criminal complaint with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against property used in an activity that affects interstate or foreign commerce,” according to the FBI press release concerning Llaneza’s arrest.
“According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on November 30, 2012, Llaneza met with a man who led him to believe he was connected with the Taliban and the mujahidin in Afghanistan. In reality, this man was an undercover FBI agent. At this initial meeting, Llaneza proposed conducting a car-bomb attack against a bank in the San Francisco Bay Area. He proposed structuring the attack to make it appear that the responsible party was an umbrella organization for a loose collection of anti-government militias and their sympathizers,” according to the FBI press release.
Llaneza expressed his desire to undercover agents to travel to Afghanistan in order to train Taliban fighters.
“Llaneza’s stated goal was to trigger a government crackdown, which he expected would trigger a right-wing counter-respons
The San Jose Mercury News reported that Llaneza “began scouting Bank of America locations in Oakland, because of the symbolism of the name and his belief of Oakland being a center of protests.”
More than 400 left-wing Occupy protesters were arrested as part of an Occupy Oakland demonstration in January 2012.