U.S. Soldier Arrested For Allegedly Threatening To Attack News Network, Distributing Instructions For Building Explosives
Jarrett William Smith gave detailed instructions about how to build an explosive device to an undercover FBI agent, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
- By Haley Samsel
- Sep 24, 2019
An Army soldier who expressed interest in fighting for a far-right group in Ukraine and allegedly wanted to attack a major U.S. news network has been arrested by the FBI in Kansas.
Jarrett William Smith was taken into FBI custody on Sept. 21, a day after he gave an undercover officer detailed instructions on how to build an explosive device with the purpose of targeting unnamed Texas politicians. Smith, who recently transferred from Fort Bliss, Texas to Fort Riley, Kansas, was charged with distribution of information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.
During his Sept. 20 conversation with the FBI agent, Smith was asked if he had any suggested political targets in Texas. He mentioned Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic presidential candidate and El Paso native who previously represented the region in Congress.
Undercover Agent: You got anyone down in Texas that would be a good fit for fire, destruction and death?
Smith: Outside of Beto? I don’t know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died.
In August, Smith also allegedly communicated with a confidential FBI source in an online chat group where he said he was looking to find more “radicals” like himself to help with a terror attack in the U.S.
During his conversation with the source, Smith said he wanted to kill anti-fascists, or Antifa, and potentially target the headquarters of a major American news network. The specific news outlet that Smith mentioned was redacted from the complaint.
Smith originally joined the military after speaking with an American who fought with a far-right Ukrainian group called the Right Sector. He has kept in contact with the man, Craig Lang, since 2016 and expressed a strong desire to join the military group before he decided to enlist in the U.S. military.
In an interview with the FBI following his arrest, Smith allegedly admitted to agents that he knows how to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and routinely provides instructions on how to build them to people online.
“He admitted that he provides this information even to individuals who tell him they intended to use the information to cause harm to others,” the FBI wrote in the criminal complaint. “Smith stated that he did this to cause ‘chaos.’”
According to the agent writing the report, Smith said “that if chaos results in the death of people, even through information he provided, it doesn’t affect him.”