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U.S. soldier arrested after alleged plan to bomb CNN, activists: sources

A crest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seen Aug. 3, 2007 inside the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, DC.
A crest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seen Aug. 3, 2007 inside the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A 24-year-old U.S. soldier who allegedly discussed a plan to bomb a major news outlet has been arrested by the FBI.

Sources familiar with the matter said that the soldier’s target was that of left-leaning activists and CNN, according to the network.

Legal documents show Jarrett William Smith was arrested in Kansas on Sept. 21, and charged with distribution of information related to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction.

ABC News first reported Monday that Smith had been speaking via Facebook with an American named Chris Lang who joined a far-right group in Ukraine. The two had allegedly discussed making bombs, prior to Smith joining the military.

In December 2018, after he joined the U.S. military in July 2017, Smith engaged in a Facebook conversation and discussed his ability to make improvised explosive devices, an affidavit written by FBI Special Agent Bradon LaMar says.

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READ MORE: Man who mailed pipe bombs to Democrats, CNN sentenced to 20 years in prison

Smith also spoke with a confidential FBI source on Aug. 19 this year in an online chat group, talking about a plan to conduct an attack within the U.S. According to the documents, he spoke about killing members of far-left group Antifa.

Days later on Aug. 21, Smith allegedly spoke online of using a “large vehicle bomb” on a major U.S. news outlet, which was not identified in the court documents.

The documents explain that Smith wrote: “A large vehicle bomb. Fill a vehicle full of [explosives] then fill a ping pong ball with [commonly available chemical] via drilling then injection. Put the ball in the tank of the vehicle and leave. 30 minutes later, BOOM.”

Court documents state that in an interview prior to his arrest, Smith had admitted to “routinely” providing information on how to make explosive devices in online chat rooms.

Democratic presidential nominee Beto O’Rourke was also referenced in the chat with the undercover informant as a possible target. When Smith was asked if anyone in Texas would be a fit for “fire, destruction and death,” he would reply “Outside of Beto? I don’t know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died.”

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With files from The Associated Press