U.S. Airport Worker Arrested for Car Bomb Plot
U.S. authorities arrested an aviation worker Friday in an apparent sting operation after he tried to explode what he thought was a car bomb at an airport in the state of Kansas.
Terry Lee Loewen, 58, was apprehended as part of an undercover investigation when he arrived at Wichita airport.
The avionics technician had been under investigation for several months by a terrorism task force in Wichita.
"Those explosives were inert and it was not a bomb that would ever explode," U.S. attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom told reporters.
Grissom did not reveal where Loewen had obtained the inert bomb. In previous similar cases undercover officers have supplied suspects with bomb-making materials.
He was charged with trying to use a weapon of mass destruction, trying to damage property with explosives and trying to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
"At no time was the airport perimeter breached, and ... at no time was any citizen or a member of the traveling public in any type of danger," Grissom said.
According to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice, Loewen had earlier "made statements that he was resolved to commit an act of violent jihad against the United States."
He had also studied the airport, its flight schedules and acquired bomb-making equipment, the statement said.
There was no indication that Loewen was working with any religious communities in Wichita, Grissom said.
If convicted, Loewen could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
"Lone wolves -- home grown violent extremists remain a very serious threat to our nation's security, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Kaste in the statement.
"Today's arrest emphasizes the continual need for the public to remain vigilant as law enforcement relies on the public's assistance."