A 20-year-old Florida man has been charged with providing bomb-making information to an FBI informant who was posing as an online associate, with the intention that a pressure-cooker device would be planted near the location of a ceremony in Kansas City, Mo., marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Between July and September, federal prosecutors allege that Joshua Ryne Goldberg of Orange Park, Fla., instructed the informant on the manufacture of a device that was to packed with nails and metal dipped in rat poison.
According to court documents, federal investigators initially traced Goldberg to a Twitter account that carried posts sympathetic to the Islamic State-inspired attack on a Texas exhibition earlier this year featuring cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
The two attackers in that incident were killed by police.
In one lengthy post to suspicious website in June, Goldberg — allegedly using the name Auswitness — boasts of having “encouraged” the Texas attack.
“I have a vast network of mujahideen around the world, and will continue to inspire and coordinate jihad attacks around the world,” the June 9 post stated.
The following month, according to court documents, the FBI arranged for a confidential source to begin exchanging messages, including links to bomb-making instructions, with Auswitness each day until Goldberg was arrested Wednesday at his Florida home.
“Put the backpack near the crowd,” Auswitness allegedly instructs the informant in a Aug. 27 message after the two have settled on the Kansas City target because of its proximity to the informant. “But make sure it’s in a place where the (police) won’t think anything of it.”
Following his arrest, according to court documents, Goldberg admitted that he provided the informant with bomb-making instructions.
“Joshua Goldberg also admitted that he instructed the individual to place the bomb at an upcoming memorial in Kansas City,” the federal complaint states. “In general…Goldberg claimed that he intended for the (informant) to either kill himself creating the bomb or, if not, that (Goldberg) intended to alert law enforcement just prior” to detonation so that Goldberg might receive credit for averting the attack.
If convicted, the federal charges carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.