By Jim Kouri
A 20-year-old Florida man was arrested on federal charges for his role in an alleged plot to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) during Friday’s 9-11 anniversary memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, according to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday. The wannabe jihadist is believed to be a homegrown Islamist recruited on the Internet.
The suspect is a Jewish American, who possesses dual citizenship in the United States and Israel, is identified by law enforcement as 20-year-old Joshua Ryne Goldberg, who is a resident of Orange Park, Florida. He is charged with distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction, according to a federal criminal complaint. He is facing as much as a 20-year prison sentence if convicted of the terrorist conspiracy.
Between July and September 2015, Goldberg communicated on his Internet Twitter account with an individual, who was registered as an FBI confidential informant (CI). Goldberg, who called himself “Australi Witness” on Twitter, allegedly told the CI how to build a bomb similar to the one used in the deadly Boston Marathon terrorist attack. Goldberg instructed him on how to fabricate a pressure cooker bomb filled with nails, metal and other shrapnel all of which was dipped in rat poison.
According to the criminal complaint, Goldberg instructed the CI to plant the bomb at a location close to the memorial ceremony in Kansas City that was commemorating the devastating Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks perpetrated by 19 members of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida. While Goldberg and the CI never met face-to-face, they did communicate frequently discussing the upcoming bomb attack as well as Islamic theology.
Goldberg claimed that it was he who had inspired the May 3, 2015, terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, during the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest which was organized by journalist and anti-terrorism activist Pamela Geller. It was during that event that two jihadists, identified as Elton Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi, launched an attack wearing body armor and firing rifles at a police officer and private security officer before the two jihadists were shot and killed by police.
Prior to that attack, Goldberg used a Twitter account to post “tweets” urging fellow jihadists to attack the art show, posting a map of the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, where the show was staged, and encouraging fellow Islamists in that part of Texas to attack “with your weapons, bombs and knives,” according to the Justice Department’s criminal complaint.
In an Internet conversation on Aug. 17, Goldberg allegedly said to the informant, “Hopefully there will be some [kind of] jihad on the anniversary of 9-11.” When the source later replied that he was willing launch an attack, Goldberg allegedly provided him with detailed plans to make the pressure-cooker IED, as well as pipe bombs. “Have you decided what kind of attack you want to carry out on [sic] 9/11, akhi? I was thinking a bombing. … We could make pipe bombs and detonate them at a large public event… It needs to be big,” he’s quoted as saying in the complaint. “If you can, dip the screws and other shrapnel in rat poison before putting them in. That way, the [infidels] who get hit by them will be more likely to die,” Goldberg said, according to the complaint.
On Wednesday night, an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) raided Goldberg’s Florida home. While speaking with investigators, he allegedly acknowledged using social media to call for attacks in Garland, Texas and providing an associate with instructions on how to produce a pressure cooker bomb. The FBI and local police departments throughout the nation are on high alert despite no messages coming out of the Obama White House.