US authorities today announced the arrest of Terry Lee Loewen, 58, of Wichita, Kan. Loewen had attempted to detonate a car bomb at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, authorities said. He was arrested at approximately 5:40 am today.
Loewen “was arrested as part of an FBI undercover investigation, and the device used by the defendant was, in fact, inert and at no time posed a danger to the public,” a Department of Justice press release stated. According to the DOJ, Loewen was arrested “without incident” after “he attempted to enter the airport tarmac and deliver a vehicle loaded with what he believed were high explosives.”
Authorities had been investigating Loewen, who worked as an avionics technician for an aeronautics company, “since early summer 2013,” the DOJ said. During this time, Loewen “made statements that he was resolved to commit an act of violent jihad against the United States” and “took a series of actions to advance the plot.”
Loewen planned to use his access card to drive into the airport grounds with an explosives-laden van, and then “pull the trigger on the explosives himself and die in the explosion,” according to the DOJ statement.
“No additional arrests are anticipated,” the DOJ stated.
According to the criminal complaint, Loewen expressed a desire to an undercover FBI employee “to engage in violent jihad on behalf of al Qaeda.” “I don’t understand how you can read the Qur’an and the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) and not understand that jihad and the implementation of Sharia is absolutely demanded of all the Muslim Ummah,” Loewen said in one communication.
In another communication with an undercover FBI employee, Loewen stated that “Brothers like Osama bin Laden and Anwar al Awlaki are a great inspiration to me.” According to Loewen, he read many of Awlaki’s writings and found them to be “very informative.” In addition to Awlaki’s writings and AQAP’s Inspire, Loewen possessed The Al Qaeda Manual (Manchester Manual) and expressed praise for the Revolution Muslim website.
In fact, in one communication Loewen said he thought about providing money to the family of Younus Abdullah Muhammad, one of the site’s founders who was sentenced to more than 11 years in prisons in June 2012. According to Loewen, Revolution Muslim was “the first website that really helped me understand what obedience to Allah(swt) was.”
In a letter dated Dec. 11, Loewen wrote that his attack was intended “to cause maximum carnage + death.” “I expect to be called a terrorist (which I am), a psychopath, and a homicidal maniac,” he further stated.