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FBI: Army soldier discussed bombing major news network, wanted to join violent Ukraine group


A self-described “radical” U.S. soldier who had a thirst for chaos and recently discussed a plan to bomb a major news network has been charged with repeatedly sharing instructions online on how to build explosives, federal authorities said.

Jarrett William Smith, who also wanted to join a violent Ukraine-based far-right group, expressed his disturbing views to members of a Facebook group chat and to an FBI confidential source, according to a criminal complaint obtained Monday by the Daily News.

The suspect joined the Army in 2017 and was serving as a private first class in Fort Riley, Kansas, where he was taken into custody on Saturday.

Authorities said he admitted to routinely teaching people to build bombs, telling the FBI he did so to cause “chaos.”

“He told me that if chaos results in the death of people, even through information he provided, it doesn’t affect him,” FBI Special Agent Brandon LaMar wrote in the complaint.

Smith had expressed his desire to fight with the Ukraine-based paramilitary group Azov Battalion even before he joined the military, authorities said. He was being mentored by a man called Craig Lang, who has traveled to Ukraine and fought with a violent far-right group similar to Azov Battalion, according to the complaint.

The soldier shared specific and often-accurate instructions on how to build improvised explosive devices, known as IEDs, multiple times since at least 2018.

"Oh yeah, I got knowledge of IEDs for days. We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that... " he allegedly wrote in a Dec. 8, 2018, Facebook message.

More recently, on Aug. 19, Smith discussed with an FBI confidential source a plan to carry out an attack within the U.S. to kill members of the far-left, anti-fascist group Antifa and destroy nearby cell towers or a local news station, according to the complaint. Authorities said he also discussed recruiting more “radicals” like himself for the attack.

Two days later, he reportedly suggested the headquarters of a major American news network as a target. The FBI omitted the name of the network and other details from court records, but the plan apparently involved filling a vehicle with various explosive materials and parking it at the network’s headquarters.

“This is a Middle East style bomb that if big enough or connected to the right explosive can damage or destroy US military vehicles,” he told the FBI source in a Telegram message last week. “Most of the time it can obliterate civilian vehicles and people nearby.”

Smith was charged with distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction.