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U.S. Soldier Talked of Killing Activists and Bombing News Network, Prosecutors Say

September 23, 2019, 6:27 PM UTC
US Army soldier
US Army soldier
Getty Images

A U.S. Army soldier shared bomb-making instructions online and also discussed killing activists and bombing a news network, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

Jarrett William Smith, a 24-year old private first class infantry soldier stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, was charged with one count of distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.

Prosecutors allege Smith discussed his plan to kill far-left-leaning “antifa” activists and described how to build a bomb that could be triggered by calling a cellphone. They allege that he also said on Facebook that he was interested in traveling to Ukraine to fight with a paramilitary group known as Azov Batallion.

Court papers say Smith also suggested targeting a major news network with a car bomb. The news network was not identified.

In an online chat group, Smith allegedly discussed in August with a confidential source a plan to conduct an attack within the United States and said he was looking for more “radicals” like himself, the complaint alleges. He talked about destroying nearby cell towers or a local news station.

In an interview before his arrest, Smith told investigators he knows how to make improvised explosives devices and that he routinely provides instruction on building them. He stated he did this to cause “chaos.”

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