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Fort Riley Soldier Charged With Sharing Information On Making Bombs

J. Schafer

A Fort Riley soldier was charged in federal court today with sharing bomb-making information over social media.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Jarrett Smith is charged with one count of distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction. It carries a sentence of up to 20 years.

The FBI says that Smith, during a chat on Facebook, offered to teach others how to make explosive devices activated by a cell phone “in the style of the Afghans.” He also talked about blowing up far-left radicals, cell towers or a local news station.

The AP reports Smith made comments to an undercover agent appearing to target Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Court documents also say Smith, 24, expressed interest in traveling to Ukraine to fight with the Azov Batallion, a far-right paramilitary group. Before joining the Army, the FBI says Smith was in contact with another person who fought in Ukraine.

Smith, a private, joined the Army in June 2017. He transferred to Fort Riley last July. He was arrested on Saturday.

In addition to his Facebook chat on making bombs, the FBI says Smith also told the undercover investigator how to make a vehicle bomb out of common household items.

The FBI said Smith told the investigator:

“... Imagine if you will if you were going to Walmart instead of a gun store to buy weapons.”

The FBI says Smith, after his arrest, admitted sharing the information in order to cause “chaos.”

Tom Shine is director of news and public affairs at KMUW. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine.

Tom joined KMUW in 2017 after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle where he held a variety of reporting and editing roles. He also is host of The Range, KMUW’s weekly show about where we live and the people who live here. Tom is a board member of the Public Media Journalists Association, a board member of the Kansas chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an adjunct instructor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.