An Islamic State supporter who attempted to blow up a car bomb outside of Fort Riley has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
More than a year after pleading guilty to attempting to set off a car bomb on the Fort Riley military base in Kansas, 22-year-old John T. Booker Jr. was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison. In February 2016, he pleaded guilty to attempting to employ a weapon of mass destruction and attempting destruction of government property. Prosecutors dropped a charge of attempting to provide material support to ISIS. At the time, his lawyer claimed Booker was mentally ill.
Booker stated during his guilty plea that he wanted to kill U.S. troops to help ISIS in its fight against America. His method of choice was a bomb he thought consisted of 1,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate. Booker even went so far as to make a video he intended for people to watch after he died.
“You sit in your homes and think this war is just over in Iraq,” Booker said in the video he filmed. “Today we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep.”
Booker pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the video.
In reality, undercover informants for the FBI were assisting Booker in his plan, and the bomb materials were completely harmless. Moreover, the FBI had been investigating Booker since 2014 because he made a post on Facebook about wanting to commit jihad. His first plan entailed joining the Army to commit an insider attack, but that failed because he was flat-out rejected from entering.
Shortly after making posts about jihad, Booker began talking with an FBI informant in October 2014. In 2015, Booker met another FBI informant who he figured would help him carry out the attack. Months later, on April 10, 2015, Booker drove with the informants to Fort Riley and was arrested when he armed what he assumed was a large bomb inside a van.
“With this sentence, John Booker is being held accountable for his plan to kill U.S. military personnel on American soil in the name of ISIS,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente in a statement. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is countering terrorist threats and protecting American lives by bringing to justice those who plot to attack us. I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who made this result possible.”
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