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Texas man charged with trying to bomb Amazon data center claimed he was outside US Capitol during riot, insurrection

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Federal prosecutors have arrested and charged Seth Aaron Pendley of Wichita Falls, Texas, with trying to blow up an Amazon data center.

Court filings for the 28-year-old were not immediately available, but a criminal complaint distributed by a Department of Justice spokesperson indicates he was charged with attempting to, “damage and destroy, by means of fire and explosive materials, an Amazon Web Services data center” in Ashburn, Virginia.

The FBI says in the complaint that it was first made aware of Pendley after a confidential source reported troubling posts on MyMilitia.com, a social media site frequently used for recruiting for and communication between armed miltia-style groups in the US.

Pendley, according to the complaint, also sent messages and made statements indicating he was outside the US Capitol during the January 6 riot and insurrection.

Investigators claimed that Pendley had posted on MyMilitia.com that he would ” ‘conduct a little experiment’ with the intention to ‘draw a lot of heat for it,'” but was “confident enough in my idea to risk putting myself in a ‘potentially dangerous situation.’ “

When another user asked him what outcome he wanted, Pendley purportedly responded, “Death.”

Additional messages exchanged between Pendley and a second confidential source cited in the complaint alleged that “little experiment” evolved into a plan to bomb Amazon Web Services data centers.

“The main objective is to f–k up the Amazon servers,” Pendley allegedly told the confidential source and an undercover FBI employee on March 31. “So we f–k those servers, and it’s gonna piss all the oligarchy off.”

Pendley believed the government would overreact to the attack, according to the complaint, and that people would be awakened to what he believed was an unjust government.

Because court records were not available, CNN has been unable to identify, or get comment from, an attorney for Pendley.

“We would like to thank the FBI for their work in this investigation,” Amazon spokesperson Casey McGee told CNN. “We take the safety and security of our staff and customer data incredibly seriously, and constantly review various vectors for any potential threats. We will continue to retain this vigilance about our employees and customers.”

FBI claims Pendley had detailed plans for attack

In discussing potential targets, Pendley purportedly told a confidential informant that a successful attack could, “kill off about 70% of the internet.” After discussing potential targets, the complaint detailed how the conversation then turned to how the attack would be carried out.

When the confidential source told Pendley they could obtain C4 explosives, Pendley allegedly responded, “F–k yeah.”

Pendley went on to say in one of the messages, according to the complaint, that “Even if we gotta wheel a wheelbarrow in that b—h. I’m sure we can get it done.”

Investigators claimed he even drafted a map of the targeted data center, “featuring proposed routes of ingress and egress at the facility.”

The planning also purportedly involved how Pendley hoped to avoid law enforcement after the attack by altering the paint on his silver Pontiac.

“Pendley explained he would drive the Pontiac to Virginia for the planned attack, switch license plates, and then later paint the car silver again,” the complaint reads. “Pendley believed this would confuse law enforcement, who would be looking for attackers in a black car.”

The FBI says that Pendley actually did paint his car in paint that could “easily be peeled off the car after the attack.”

Pendley claimed he brought illegal firearm to Washington for January 6

Much of the complaint lays out how Pendley planned to carry out the bombing. But it also details his own claims about what he did, and where he was, during the January 6 riot and insurrection.

During the March 31 meeting with the confidential source and an undercover FBI employee, Pendley claimed that he had participated in the events at the Capitol building on January 6.

“While Pendley said he did not go inside the Capitol, he stated that he brought an AR rifle with him on the trip which he had modified with a hacksaw so it would fit inside a backpack,” the complaint alleges. “Pendley said he decided to leave his firearm in his car.”

In posts on MyMilitia.com, Pendley appeared to explain that further, saying he had “prepared to show up at the capital (sic) as strapped as possible,” but “left it in my ride after seeing (zero) accompanying me in my endeavor.”

On Facebook, Pendley allegedly sent messages claiming that he “had made it to the ‘platform,’ where he interacted with police officers.” He claimed in another message that he had taken a piece of glass from a Capitol window as well.

While conducting a search of Pendley’s residence, FBI investigators said they recovered “an AR receiver with a sawed-off barrel … wigs and masks, a pistol which had been painted to look like a toy gun … and a machete with the name ‘Dionysus’ on the blade.”

In the leadup to January 6, investigators write in the complaint, Pendley “expressed anger with the Democratic Party, and support for President Donald Trump.”

“Okay people. I’m done. The people in power have changed society in a way that no longer served the American people,” investigators alleged he wrote on December 27. “Insanity has become the new norm to compare the individual to. I will be headed to Washington DC to hopefully help the country for the better.”

When someone questioned what he intended to do, Pendley purportedly responded, “Whatever fits. Depends on what happens. I’m hoping for the insurrection act but either way I want to be there.”

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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