Army private who wanted to attack CNN with car bomb pleads guilty

A US Army private who allegedly wanted to attack CNN with a car bomb has pleaded guilty to sharing instructions on how to make explosives on social media, federal prosecutors said.

Jarrett William Smith, who was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of distributing information related to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas announced.

CNN reported in September that Smith, 24, sought to join radical terror groups and wanted to target the Atlanta-based news network with a “large vehicle bomb.” FBI officials at the time redacted the name of the “major American news network” in a seven-page complaint.

Smith also allegedly discussed assassinating then-Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, mentioning “Beto” when asked by an undercover FBI agent if he wanted to target anyone in Texas for “fire, destruction and death,” according to an affidavit.

Smith also provided a recipe to create improvised napalm and discussed his desire to travel to Ukraine to fight with a violent, far-right military group, federal prosecutors said.

The paramilitary group was identified in court documents as Azov Battalion, NBC News reports.

Prior to his arrest, Smith told an FBI agent that his goal was to create “chaos,” according to an affidavit. Assistant US Attorney Anthony Mattivi said in September that Smith told the FBI investigator that he disseminated the bomb-making material “for the glory of his Satanist religion,” the Associated Press reported.

At the time, Mattivi did not elaborate aside to say that Smith was a fan of “black metal” music that often has Satanic themes. The prosecutor declined to provide additional details on Monday.

Smith, who joined the Army in 2017 and served as an infantry soldier trained in combat and tactical operations, faces up to 20 years in prison at his scheduled sentencing on May 18.

He also faced another charge of threatening to burn down the house of a far-left Antifa member in Michigan, but that count was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

With Post wires

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