By Doug Stanglin and Michael Winter, USATODAY.COM
The pair allegedly intended to use the radiation-emitting device against ‘enemies of Israel.’
A Ku Klux Klansman working for General Electric and an accomplice are facing terrorism charges in Upstate New York for allegedly planning to build a mobile X-ray weapon to kill Muslims and other “enemies of Israel,” federal authorities announced Wednesday.
Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, of Galway, N.Y., and Eric J. Feight, 54, of Hudson, N.Y., were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said. They were due in federal court in Albany on Wednesday.
Crawford, an industrial mechanic with GE, claimed the “Hiroshima on a light switch” device could fit in a van, be triggered remotely and deliver lethal doses of ionizing radiation that would kill its targets as they slept, the complaint stated. Feight allegedly agreed to build the electronic controls.
Their target was the Muslim community, the complaint stated, and they had successfully tested the remote trigger from about a half-mile away.
Crawford, a married father of three, is a member of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the criminal complaint said. In disrupting the alleged plot, undercover agents posed as Klansmen in North Carolina who offered to finance and buy the device, which the FBI said was constructed but never operable or a public danger.
Crawford is also listed on Tea Party Patriots as the “coordinator” of Americans Demanding Liberty and Freedom, which was founded in April 2009 in Galway.
Feight works for a GE contractor in Columbia County, authorities said. He formerly was employed as a computer software expert and project engineer for Smith Control Systems, in Hudson, the Albany Times-Union reported in its detailed account.
Up to six unidentified people, including another GE employee, were assisting Crawford, and some may have known his intentions, according to an FBI affidavit.
GE said in a statement that the company has “no reason to believe the act took place on GE property nor is there any information indicating that our employees’ safety was ever compromised. Since this incident, Mr. Crawford has been suspended. We are cooperating fully with the authorities on their investigation.”
In April 2012, authorities were notified that Crawford had gone to an Albany-area synagogue and and contacted a local Jewish organizations “seeking out individuals who might offer assistance in helping him with a type of technology that could be used against people he perceived as enemies of Israel” and the United States. He called these perceived enemies and Muslims “medical waste” and “scumbags.”
Crawford told an informant he planned to buy or build a battery-powered, industrial-strength X-ray device and hoped to land a part-time job in a metal shop with X-ray tubes, according to the complaint.
A year later — April 15, the day of the Boston Marathon bombings — Crawford said in an e-mail exchange monitored by the FBI that he had found a power supply. He railed against President Obama, whom he derided as “your treasoness bedwetting maggot in chief,” for “bringing the muzzies here without background checks.”
Crawford was aware that authorities might monitor his cellphone, e-mail and text messages — which they did with search warrants — so he used pseudonyms and code words.
Hartunian, the U.S. attorney, said the case “demonstrates how we must remain vigilant to detect and stop potential terrorists, who so often harbor hatred toward people they deem undesirable.”
Source usatoday.com 9:02 p.m. EDT June 19, 2013