A 28-year old man from Wichita Falls in Texas, who goes by the name of Seth Aaron Pendley, has pleaded guilty to having been planning to blow up a data center for Amazon Web Services, reveals a report by The New York Times.
An FBI Agent Undercover
The guilty plea was announced by US prosecutors on Wednesday, while admitting that it had been a citizen who had tipped the authorities off about the issue. Moreover, said citizen had been instrumental to the eventual prosecution of Pendley, after having introduced him to an FBI agent who went undercover, claiming to be a vendor dealing in explosives.
The US Department of Justice said that they had recorded the conversations that Pendley held with the undercover agent, where he revealed that he was looking to attack the web servers that, according to his belief, supply data to multiple federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Moreover, the person who tipped off the Bureau had also received messages from Pendley, saying that he hoped that his attack would be powerful enough to “kill off about 70 per cent of the internet.” A conversation from March 31 has the Texas local saying that he is trying to anger the ‘oligarchy’ enough so as to get a reaction, which will help ‘Americans take action against the dictatorship’.
Also a Part of Capitol Storming
Prosecutors even noted that he had ‘boasted’ about having been a part of the group for Trump supporters who stormed Capitol Hill on January 6th this year.
Setting up an elaborate plan to eventually take Pendley into custody, the undercover agent reportedly met up with him on April 8, following which, he even supplied him with explosives (all inert, of course), and trained him on how to use them.
This eventually led to his arrest, as he loaded the weapons into his car, believing that they were real bombs designed using C-4 plastic explosives, and complete with detonation cords. This was followed by a full-fledged search of his house, where an “Ar-15 receiver and a sawed-off barrel, a pistol painted to look like a toy gun, masks, wigs, and notes and flashcards related to the planned attack.”
After having plead guilty, Pendley now faces a term between 5 years to 20 years in prison. Prerak Shah, the Acting Attorney for the US, expressed his gratitude to the timely arrest, saying that the authorities are grateful that will never have to find out just how many tech workers’ lives were saved in the process.
Source: The New York Times