Authorities on Wednesday said they found a 200-pound bomb in the New York home of a man who allegedly planned to blow himself up at the National Mall in Washington, D.C in an Election Day attack.
Paul M. Rosenfeld was charged with federal offenses related to manufacturing a bomb and transporting explosives.
In August and September, the 56-year-old sent text messages and letters to a person in Pennsylvania describing his plot, which aimed to call attention to Rosenfeld’s belief in sortition, a political theory that officials should be randomly appointed from a pool of candidates.
“As alleged in the complaint, Paul M. Rosenfeld planned to detonate a large explosive to kill himself and draw attention to his radical political beliefs,” William F. Sweeney Jr, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York office said in a statement.
“Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction,” Sweeney said.
After authorities stopped Rosenfeld’s car Tuesday, he told investigators he ordered large amounts of black powder online and brought the explosive from an unspecified location in New Jersey to his Tappan, New York, home, according to court documents.
In the interview with authorities, the accused bomb-maker said he used about eight pounds of black powder to build a large explosive device in his basement, according to a criminal complaint. He claimed to have built the device as to make sure he would be killed in the blast that he allegedly planned for Nov. 6.
Rosenfeld admitted he built smaller bombs and conducted test detonations, an FBI agent wrote in the complaint, which stated he told authorities he was acting alone.
FBI bomb technicians and local authorities swarmed Rosenfeld’s house Wednesday, near the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
Agents safely removed the explosive from his basement, where they also recovered empty powder canisters and bomb components, according to authorities.
Rosenfeld was scheduled for a court appearance Wednesday in White Plains, New York, federal court.