Prosecutors say Paul Rosenfeld, 56, bough approximately eight pounds of black powder in New Jersey and transported it to New York to construct a large explosive device in the basement of his Tappan, N.Y. residence. He also allegedly put additional components in the bomb to ensure that he would be killed when the bomb went off.
According to charging documents, Rosenfeld’s plan to detonate the bomb in Washington. D.C. was to call attention to his version of the political ideology of “sortition,” which calls for government officials to be chosen at random.
After his arrest on Tuesday, FBI agents searched Rosenfeld’s home and said they found a “functional explosive device” that weighed approximately 200 pounds, as well as a fusing system for triggering explosive devices and what appeared to be empty canisters of black powder.
“As alleged in the complaint, Paul M. Rosenfeld planned to detonate a large explosive to kill himself and draw attention to his radical political beliefs,” Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. “Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction. 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.”
Rosenfeld was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device and one count of interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.
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