New York man convicted of plotting to target Muslims with weaponized X-ray machine
By Maria Stainer — The Washington Times — Monday, August 24, 2015
A jury convicted a New York man, “a self-professed member of the Ku Klux Klan,” Friday of charges related to plotting to develop a weapon of mass destruction — an X-ray machine modified into a lethal radiation device — to be used against Muslims in the U.S.
Glendon Scott Crawford, 51, of Galway, New York, was convicted of attempting to produce and use a radiological dispersal device and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction; and distributing information relating to weapons of mass destruction, Justice Department officials said in a statement.
The first charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and the second charge up to 20 years in prison.
“He also faces a $2 million fine on the attempting to produce and use a radiological dispersal device charge, and a fine of $250,000 on the other two charges,” Justice officials said.
Crawford’s defense attorney Kevin Luibrand told The Associated Press his client had no criminal history, and they will file a notice of appeal after the sentencing.
“They had 60 hours of undercover materials, which made it very difficult to mount an effective defense,” Mr. Luibrand said, AP reported.
Crawford worked as an industrial mechanic with General Electric in Schenectady, New York, when he attracted the attention of the FBI in April 2012. He had approached local Jewish groups seeking people to help him develop technology “against people whom he perceived to be enemies of Israel,” Justice Department officials said.
He wanted to use the X-ray device against Muslims and checked out local Islamic targets — mosques, and a community center and school — in Albany and Schenectady. He even considered the New York governor’s mansion to target, the officials said.
“During a 14-month investigation, the Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force learned that Crawford was attempting to solicit funds to purchase, and then weaponize, a commercially available X-ray machine so that it could be used to injure or kill others by exposing them to lethal doses of radiation,” the department statement said.
Crawford tried to put his plan in place with co-conspirator Eric J. Feight, who pleaded guilty on June 22, 2014, to providing material support to terrorists.
Feight will be sentenced on Sept. 17 by Chief U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe of the Northern District of New York and faces up to 15 years in prison.
“The X-ray device that he planned to use had been modified so that Crawford could not have used it to hurt anyone,” Justice officials said.
“Glendon Scott Crawford, a self-professed member of the Ku Klux Klan, was convicted of offenses relating to his deadly plan to use a radiological dispersal device to target unsuspecting Muslim Americans with lethal doses of radiation,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin said. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism, and we will continue to pursue justice against those who seek to perpetrate attacks on American soil.”
Crawford will be sentenced on Dec. 15 by Judge Sharpe.
“Crawford is a terrorist motivated by bigotry and hate who would have used a weapon of mass destruction to kill innocent Muslim members of our community were it not for the good judgment of citizens who quickly alerted law enforcement to his diabolical plan and the outstanding work of the Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said attorney Richard S. Hartunian of the Northern District of New York. “This case illustrates how we must remain vigilant to protect our community from would-be terrorists.”
Mr. Carlin, Mr. Hartunian and Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Albany, New York, Division announced Crawford’s conviction on Friday.