Capitol Rioter Guilty In Plot To Bomb Amazon Servers

The Washington Post reports:

For weeks this spring, 28-year-old Seth Aaron Pendley had plotted an attack on Amazon data centers in Virginia. He’d already taken a sawed-off rifle to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Now, he hoped to cripple much of the Internet and take down government networks.

Last April, he finally arranged a meeting with a man promising to provide the C4 explosive devices. When they met in Fort Worth, Tex., the man showed Pendley how to arm and detonate the powerful bombs.

But just as Pendley placed the devices into his Pontiac, federal agents swarmed in and arrested him. The bomb seller was actually an FBI plant who had helped unravel a plan Pendley believed could “kill off about 70 percent of the internet.”

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From the Justice Department:

A Wichita Falls man who plotted to blow up a data center in Virginia pleaded guilty Wednesday to malicious attempt to destroy a building with an explosive, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.

Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, was arrested in April after attempting to obtain an explosive device from an undercover FBI employee in Fort Worth. He entered his guilty plea today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hal R. Ray, Jr.

In plea papers, Mr. Pendley admitted that he disclosed his plan to blow up a prominent tech company’s data center to a confidential human source via Signal, an encrypted messaging app, in January.

In late February, he sent the source a list of data center addresses and said he hoped a successful attack could “kill off about 70% of the internet.” When the source offered to help him obtain C4 explosives to use in the attack, Mr. Pendley responded, “F*** yeah.”

Mr. Pendley then showed the source a hand-drawn map of a data center on Smith Switch Road in Virginia, featuring proposed routes of ingress and egress at the facility. He later described how he planned to disguise his car to evade detection by law enforcement.

On April 8, Mr. Pendley again met with the undercover FBI employee to pick up what he believed to be explosive devices. (In actuality, however, the undercover gave Mr. Pendley inert devices.) After the agent showed Mr. Pendley how to arm and detonate the devices, the defendant loaded them into his car. He was then arrested.

A subsequent search of his residence in Wichita Falls turned up an AR-15 receiver with a sawed off barrel, a pistol painted to look like a toy gun, masks, wigs, and notes and flashcards related to the planned attack.

“The main objective is to f*** up the Amazon servers,” he said, adding that he hoped to anger “the oligarchy” enough to provoke a reaction that would convince the American people to take action against what he perceived to be a “dictatorship.”

Mr. Pendley now faces between five and 20 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing has been set for Oct. 1 before U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor.