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Second Man Charged in Plot to Bomb Kansas Army Base for ISIS

Prosecutors say Alexander Blair, 28, knew about a plot to bomb Fort Riley on behalf of the terror group ISIS and didn't tell authorities.
/ Source: NBC News

A second man was charged Friday in an alleged plot to set off a car bomb at an Army installation in Kansas on behalf of the terror group ISIS, federal prosecutors said.

Alexander E. Blair, 28, of Topeka, was charged with one count of failing to report a felony. The charge carries up to three years in prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas said Blair knew John T. Booker Jr. planned to blow up a bomb at Fort Riley in an attempt to "kill as many soldiers as possible" and didn’t tell authorities.

Booker, 20, was arrested Friday morning after he tried to connect wires to what he thought was a bomb inside a van at near a gate at Fort Riley, according to a criminal complaint. The "bomb" was constructed by an undercover FBI agent, and contained inert materials that could not have exploded, the government said.

Booker was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, the Justice Department said.

Prosecutors said Blair loaned Booker money for a storage locker where he kept the materials he thought were explosives, but Blair is only charged with not reporting the plot. Prosecutors said Blair shared Booker's extremist views. Officials said Friday they think Booker has mental problems.

The FBI began investigating Booker after he tried to join the Army a year ago, and then posted messages to Facebook that indicated he was getting ready to wage a holy war. "Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!! I am so nervous. NOT because I'm scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord," Booker posted.

The Army rejected Booker. The FBI sent undercover operatives to talk with him over the next several months, the complaint said. Booker allegedly said he wanted to carry out a suicide bombing at the Army base on behalf of the extremist militant group ISIS.

One of the informants provided Booker with information on how to build a bomb and the chemicals that would be needed. Booker then allegedly directed the informant to area retailers where he could buy the materials, made a propaganda video and scouted out the best routes to carry out an attack, prosecutors said. If convicted, Booker faces life in prison.


— Phil Helsel