FBI agents arrested two upstate New York men on June 18, charging them with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists for an alleged plot to build a “mobile, remotely operated, radiation-emitting device” to kill people at a distance with X-ray radiation. Arrested were Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, from Providence, and Eric Feight, 54, from Stockport.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the FBI in court, Crawford, with help from Feight, spent more than a year attempting to obtain the components for constructing such a radiation device, which they allegedly hoped to sell. To obtain money for financing the construction, Crawford allegedly approached both Jewish institutions in New York (they quickly contacted the authorities) as well as the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.
The criminal complaint alleges that Crawford himself variously claimed to be or to have been a member of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a Midwest-based Klan group that does not have an organized presence in New York, though it may have isolated members in the region. In recent years, Klan activity in New York has been minimal at best. Publicly, Crawford tended to align himself not with white supremacist groups but with conservative and Tea Party causes and groups.
It is very unusual that a purported Klan member would approach Jewish organizations for help (especially with regard to illegal activity), but Crawford’s ire seems to have been directed primarily at Muslims. The criminal complaint provides a number of alleged instances of anti-Muslim sentiments on the part of Crawford, as well as suggestions that Muslims (including a “Muslim organization”) were one of the intended targets.
Other targets allegedly discussed included a “political party” and “a political figure.” The latter two seem to have been the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. According to the criminal complaint, both Feight and Crawford independently made statements expressing their unhappiness with the 2012 elections. In April 2013, Crawford allegedly sent a text message to someone in which he claimed that Obama (“your treasonous bedwetting maggot in chief”) has been bringing Muslims (“muzzies”) into the United States without background checks. “This administration has done more to enable a government sponsored invasion than the press can cover up,” Crawford allegedly sent.
FBI agents were aware of Crawford’s alleged activities from an early stage and brought in numerous undercover agents and confidential informants—including allegedly a member of the Loyal White Knights—to act as purported backers of Crawford’s plans. At no point does it seem that Crawford and Feight had the means with which to construct a radiation weapon or use it.