Washington, Aug 15 (IANS) The FBI has arrested a US man after he tried to detonate a truck-bomb outside a bank in Oklahoma on Sunday.
Jerry Drake Varnell, the bomber, is said to have taken his inspiration from the 1995 bomb attack in the city that killed 168 people, and wanted to express his hatred for the federal government, Efe reported on Monday.
Varnell initially had intended to attack the Federal Reserve Building in Washington with a device similar to the powerful homemade bomb used by Timothy McVeigh in 1995.
However, he ultimately decided to target the BancFirst offices in central Oklahoma.
According to court documents, when he was asked about why he had changed targets, the 23-year-old said he did not want to “kill a lot of people.”
Just as his idol — McVeigh — had done, Varnell used a van to transport the bomb.
But the young man, a member of an anti-government ultrarightist group, did not know that the materials provided to him by a supposed expert to manufacture the bomb were fake and that that person was an undercover agent dispatched by the FBI when it received information about Varnell’s plot.
The FBI had followed Varnell for months in a lengthy domestic terrorism investigation, according to testimony from judicial sources.
Varnell is facing charges of trying to use explosives to destroy a building and could be sentenced to up to 20 years behind bars.
He is scheduled to appear in federal court on Monday.
Varnell admitted to authorities his admiration for McVeigh, who parked a van carrying a huge homemade bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, left the scene and detonated it, killing 168 people, wounding 400 more and destroyed the building.
McVeigh, a decorated former US soldier in the Gulf War with ties to ultrarightist paramilitary groups, was sentenced to death and executed in June 2001.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.