It was reported earlier this week that a right-wing domestic terrorist (whose name is being withheld here so as to limit his notoriety or impact) was killed during an FBI “agent-involved shooting” near the town of Belton, Missouri. He was plotting to bomb an unidentified hospital with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. The 36-year old man had been the subject of FBI surveillance for several months under suspicion of being a “potentially violent extremist who had expressed racial and religious hatred,” according to an FBI statement.
Reports suggest that the man had previously considered a number of targets such as “attacking a school with a large number of black students, a mosque, and a synagogue.” He settled on attacking an unidentified hospital after local authorities instructed residents to remain home in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Segments from the FBI statement reveal that the terrorist “ultimately settled on an area hospital in an attempt to harm many people, targeting a facility that is providing critical medical care in today’s environment.”
The exact timeline of the terrorist’s attack plot remains forthcoming, but FBI officials revealed the terrorist’s attack planning had accelerated due to the ongoing pandemic. The FBI intervened to make his arrest following observations which suggested that the man was in the final pre-attack stages — namely, that he had picked up a vehicle, supposedly laden with explosives and he intended to use it.
In a vague statement, which subtly revealed the extent of the FBI’s investigation into this attack plot, it was expressed that there was “no actual bomb” in the vehicle the man had picked up. This suggests the possible use of a so-called “sting operation,” by the FBI. In such an operation government entities use clandestine means to portray themselves as criminals, terrorists, or other such elements in order to ensnare other nefarious actors and gain direct insights into their attack planning.