Alexander Blair sentenced in failed Army base bomb plot
Alexander Blair was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in prison for helping a would-be jihadist’s unsuccessful plan to plant what they thought was a bomb at an Army base.
He was accused of lending $US100 to 21-year-old John Booker Jr to pay for storage of what they thought was an explosive device, which prosecutors say Booker intended to detonate outside Fort Riley in Kansas in support of the Islamic State group.
The device was a fake bomb built by FBI informants.
Blair pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in May, and US District Judge Daniel Crabtree said on Tuesday he regretted that anti-terrorism laws required him to treat Blair as if he had multiple previous criminal conventions despite Blair’s previously “spotless” record.
The judge also said he concluded – as Blair’s lawyer had argued – that an unusual genetic personality condition made Blair “susceptible” to manipulation by Booker.
Booker pleaded guilty in February to two felonies under an agreement calling for him to serve 30 years in prison, but he has not been sentenced.
Booker plotted the bombing with two confidential FBI sources, and he was arrested in April 2015 outside Fort Riley, west of Topeka, as he was trying to arm what he thought was a 450kg explosive device.
Blair met Booker in January 2015, at the Islamic Center mosque in Topeka.
In a court filing, Blair’s lawyer said Blair was interested in Islam because he did not feel as if he was “fully part” of the Christian congregations he had previously joined.
Jeffrey S. Overstreet