Topeka Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy in Fort Riley Bomb Plot
TOPEKA, KAN. – A Topeka man pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring with another man who devised a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb at Fort Riley military base near Manhattan, Kan., Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin announced today.
Alexander E. Blair, 30, Topeka, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. During a plea hearing, Blair admitted he conspired with co-defendant John T. Booker, Jr., 21, Topeka. Asked after he was arrested about the fact Booker’s plan called for America service members to die in the bombing, Blair said: “That’s what they signed (up) for.”
In March 2014, the FBI began an investigation into Booker, who called himself Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, concerning statements he made online indicating he wanted to wage jihad and to die in the process. Booker was arrested April 10, 2015, and charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and two other counts.
During the investigation of Booker, law enforcement officers learned that Blair shared some of Booker’s extremist views and loaned Booker money for the purpose of renting a storage unit that Booker used to store components for a bomb. Blair knew of Booker’s intent to detonate a bomb at Fort Riley and to “kill as many soldiers as possible.” Despite being convinced that Booker was serious about carrying out the plot, Blair chose not to report what he knew to the authorities.
Blair is set for sentencing Aug. 23. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
Booker pleaded guilty to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempted destruction of government property. He is awaiting sentencing.
Beall commended the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tony Mattivi and David Smith of the District of Kansas, and Trial Attorneys Josh Parecki and Rebecca Magnone of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section for their work on the case.