A Rockland County man was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday morning, and charged with building a bomb.
Paul Rosenfeld, 56, of Tappan NY, had planned to carry out a suicide bombing with a 200 pound bomb in Washington DC on Election Day.
According to ABC News NY, Rosenfeld adheres to an ideology called Sortition, the belief that the government should be selected by lottery rather than popular vote.
According to officials, in August and September 2018, Rosenfeld sent letters and text messages to an individual in Pennsylvania (“Individual-1”). These letters and text messages stated that Rosenfeld planned to build an explosive device and detonate it on November 6, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Rosenfeld’s stated reason for these acts was to draw attention to his political belief in “sortition,” a political theory that advocates the random selection of government officials.
On October 9, 2018, law enforcement agent stopped a car driven by Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld agreed to answer questions and, in an interview with law enforcement, stated that he ordered large quantities of black powder—an explosive substance—over the Internet, which he transported from a location in New Jersey to his home in Tappan, New York (the “Residence”). Rosenfeld stated, among other things, that he used approximately eight pounds of black powder to construct a large explosive device in the basement of the Residence, and that he installed certain components in the explosive device to ensure that he was killed in the blast. Rosenfeld reported that he had previously constructed smaller explosive devices and had conducted test detonations. He also indicated that he planned to detonate the larger explosive device in a suicide mission on November 6, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in order to draw attention to sortition.
On October 9, 2018, law enforcement agents conducted a search of the Residence pursuant to a judicially authorized search warrant. In the basement, law enforcement agents found what appeared to be a functional explosive device weighing approximately 200 pounds (the “Explosive Device”). FBI bomb technicians removed the Explosive Device from the basement of the Residence and transported it to a safe location. Within the Residence, law enforcement agents also found, among other things, a fusing system for triggering explosive devices and what appeared to be empty canisters of black powder.
William Sweeney Jr., the assistant director of the FBI’s New York field office, said in a statement that Rosenfeld intended to “detonate a large explosive to kill himself and draw attention to his radical beliefs.”
“Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction,” Sweeney said in the statement. “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 has been charged with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
(Charles Gross – YWN)