A New York man's plot to detonate a 200-lb bomb on the National Mall in Washington D.C. on Election Day has been foiled by the FBI according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
In the releasel federal authorities say Paul Rosenfeld, 56, of Tappan, planned on using the bomb to kill himself and draw attention to a political ideology known as 'Sortition', where the public chooses politicians and public officials at random, rather than hold elections.
Prosecutors charged Rosenfeld with the unlawful manufacture of a destructive device and interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive.
“As alleged, Paul M. Rosenfeld concocted a twisted plan to draw attention to his political ideology by killing himself on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.—risking harm to many others in the process," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. "Rosenfeld’s alleged plan for an Election Day detonation cut against our democratic principles. Thanks to outstanding coordination between local and federal law enforcement, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot was thwarted and he is now in federal custody.”
FBI officials say Rosenfeld was pulled over on Tuesday and during an interview with law enforcement agents, confessed to ordering large quantities of black powder online, and taking it back to his home in New York. He then described constructing the explosive device in his basement, the news release said.
FBI officials raided Rosenfeld's home where they found the bomb. The device was removed by FBI bomb technicians. Further investigation of the home revealed a system that built to trigger explosions in his home.
Letter and text messages showing Rosenfeld's intent with the device sent in August and September were also found, the news release said.
Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. congratulated members of the task force that prevented Rosenfeld from following through with his plan.
"Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction," Sweeney said. "Fortunately, his plans were thwarted by the quick action of a concerned citizen and the diligent work of a host of our law enforcement partners and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force."
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