White supremacist Glendon Scott Crawford has been convicted of attempting to build and use a radiological weapon of mass destruction.
Sadly, this was not the kind of ray gun that makes people start dancing. (via ABC)
Disgruntled white men taking their anger out on society with big guns is nothing new in American society, but very rarely do those big guns merit the charge of conspiring to build WMD. Glendon Scott Crawford, a 51-year-old KKK member from Galway, New York, was convicted on Friday on charges of distributing information with respect to a weapon of mass destruction, use of weapon of mass destruction, and trying to build and use a radiological dispersal device. Specifically, an X-ray weapon he described as "Hiroshima on a light switch," which he hoped to point at mosques and the White House. If this guy had only been Iraq in 2003, he could have justified the whole war. He is the first person to ever be convicted of this.
A few years ago, Crawford and his accomplice—56-year-old Eric J. Feight (since convicted of providing material support to terrorists)—approached the Israeli Embassy, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, and the Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady to ask them if they would help him buy an industrial-grade X-ray device for the purposes of killing "enemies of Israel." These groups politely declined his offer and reported him to the FBI.
By April 2012, the FBI had dispatched undercover agents who were secretly recording conversations with Crawford about his plans, which seemed sparked by his conviction that Obama had directed immigration authorities to bring in Muslims to carry out terrorist attacks. Naturally, his response was to plan his own terror attacks. In August 2012, Crawford then traveled to South Carolina to seek funding from Chris Baker, a KKK Imperial Wizard who also turned out to be cooperating with the FBI.
But here's the weird part, and it factored into his defense attorney's arguments: the FBI was heavily involved in helping him build this device. A device assistant US attorney Rick Belliss called "very real, very viable and very deadly." Crawford and his accomplice Feight both worked for General Electric, but when they became frustrated with the slow pace of their progress, undercover FBI agents apparently helped them acquire the necessary parts and even test a device to remotely activate the X-ray weapon, which would be stored in the back of a truck.
When Crawford and Feight showed up to acquire the final component of their weapon, they were arrested by the FBI. The involvement of FBI agents have led Crawford's attorneys to argue that while he may indeed be guilty of disseminating information about WMDs, the government's involvement in this case is tantamount to entrapment.
While I do hope this guy is convicted, it does raise the question: are X-ray WMDs real, and if so, why is the government helping terrorists almost build them?