Arrest made in attempt to bomb Wichita airport, FBI says

Arrest made in attempt to bomb Wichita airport, FBI says

Posted: Updated:
This mugshot shows Terry Lee Loewen on Dec. 13, 2013 This mugshot shows Terry Lee Loewen on Dec. 13, 2013
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -

A Kansas man was arrested Friday on charges that he planned to set off a car bomb at the Wichita airport in an attack intended to support al-Qaida, authorities said.

Terry Lee Loewen, a 58-year-old avionics technician who worked at the airport, was arrested before dawn as tried to enter the tarmac in a vehicle he believed was loaded with high explosives.

But the materials in the car were inert, and no one at the airport was in any immediate danger, authorities said.

Loewen, who lives in Wichita, had been under investigation for about six months after making online statements to an undercover agent about wanting to commit "violent jihad" against the United States, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Authorities said Loewen spent months studying the layout of the Mid-Continent Regional Airport, its flight patterns and other details to maximize fatalities and damage. During that time, he developed a plan with other conspirators to use his employee access card to pull off the attack. The conspirators were actually undercover FBI agents.

Loewen planned to die in the explosion, a fate that he said was inevitable in his quest to become a martyr in a jihad against America, according to court documents.

Authorities said they believe Loewen acted alone. No other arrests were expected.

In his online conversations, Loewen talked about downloading documents about jihad, martyrdom and an al-Qaida "manual." He frequently expressed admiration for Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born al-Qaida leader who was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen, according to the documents.

Al-Awlaki emerged as an influential preacher among militants living in the West, with his English language Internet sermons calling for jihad, or holy war, against the U.S.

In August, an undercover agent offered to introduce Loewen to someone who could help him engage in jihad. A few days later, he mentioned providing a "tour" of the airport for one of the undercover agents.

In September, the undercover agent told Loewen he had returned from overseas after meeting with individuals connected with al-Qaida. The agent told him the "brothers" were excited to hear about his access to the airport and asked Loewen if he would be willing to plant some type of device, the documents said.

"Wow! That's some heavy stuff you just laid down. Am I interested? Yes. I still need time to think about it, but I can't imagine anything short of arrest stopping me," Loewen told the agent, adding he needed to let Allah guide him.

He also asked for reassurances that he wasn't being set up, saying his greatest fear was not completing the operation.

The criminal complaint also details a meeting in November with other undercover agents in which they discussed executing the plan prior to Christmas in order to cause the greatest physical and economic damage. He also provided components from his employer that the agents requested to wire the fake explosive device, according to court documents.

On Wednesday, Loewen met with another undercover agent and helped assemble the false bomb. He was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property and attempting to provide support to terrorist group al-Qaida.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback joined the U.S. attorney at the news conference to announce the charges.

"In the ongoing war on terrorism, the good guys won one today," Brownback said.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • FDA warns against using caffeine powder

    FDA warns against using caffeine powder

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:44 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:44:03 GMT
    A new warning from the FDA urges you to stay away from powered caffeine. It's easy to get. It's powerful. But as we recently learned, even a small amount can be deadly. The substance responsible for killing a high schooler in Ohio can easily be bought online. And now the FDA warns everyone to avoid caffeine powder."You get overstimulated, and in the worst case scenario, it can cause your heart to stop," said Dr. Rachel Franklin, medical director of OU Physicians Family Medicine. 18-year-old L...
    A new warning from the FDA urges you to stay away from powered caffeine. It's easy to get. It's powerful. But as we recently learned, even a small amount can be deadly. The substance responsible for killing a high schooler in Ohio can easily be bought online. And now the FDA warns everyone to avoid caffeine powder."You get overstimulated, and in the worst case scenario, it can cause your heart to stop," said Dr. Rachel Franklin, medical director of OU Physicians Family Medicine. 18-year-old L...
  • Having trouble cooling off? It's not just heat, it could be your medicine too

    Having trouble cooling off? It's not just heat, it could be your medicine too

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:00:16 GMT
    As the mercury rises in Oklahoma, people taking some over the counter medications and prescription drugs may find it harder to cool down.
    As the mercury rises in Oklahoma, people taking some over the counter medications and prescription drugs may find it harder to cool down.
  • Oil and gas execs give alternative explanations to surge in OK quakes

    Oil and gas execs give alternative explanations to surge in OK quakes

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:36 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:36:20 GMT
    Wednesday members of the oil and gas industry publicly spoke out. They gave their side of the debated connection between injection wells and the state's recent surge in earthquakes over the past five years.
    Wednesday members of the oil and gas industry publicly spoke out. They gave their side of the debated connection between injection wells and the state's recent surge in earthquakes over the past five years.
  • More HeadlinesMore>>

  • Arizona inmate gasps for air during two hour execution

    Arizona inmate gasps for air during two hour execution

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:31 AM EDT2014-07-24 09:31:35 GMT
    (CNN) -- Joseph Wood snorted and struggled to breathe during his nearly two-hour lethal injection Wednesday, his attorney said."It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breathe for about an hour and 40 minutes.
    (CNN) -- Joseph Wood snorted and struggled to breathe during his nearly two-hour lethal injection Wednesday, his attorney said."It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breathe for about an hour and 40 minutes.
  • Arkansas clerk: "I just wasn't in the mood [to be robbed]"

    Arkansas clerk: "I just wasn't in the mood [to be robbed]"

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:34:09 GMT
    When Paul Fagin clocked in his for shift at an Arkansas gas station, he said it just wasn't the day for him to be robbed. When a suspect tried to do it, he fought back.
    When Paul Fagin clocked in his for shift at an Arkansas gas station, he said it just wasn't the day for him to be robbed. When a suspect tried to do it, he fought back.
  • Florida father says son saved alleged molester's life

    Florida father says son saved alleged molester's life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:05 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:05:03 GMT
    Raymond Frolander was found with several knots on his face and bleeding from the mouth after he allegedly sexually abused a child.Raymond Frolander was found with several knots on his face and bleeding from the mouth after he allegedly sexually abused a child.
    A Florida father who beat his 11-year-old son's alleged molester unconscious before calling 911 told a CNN affiliate that his son is a hero and that the youngster is the only reason the man is alive.
    A Florida father who beat his 11-year-old son's alleged molester unconscious before calling 911 told a CNN affiliate that his son is a hero and that the youngster is the only reason the man is alive.
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.