A Green Township man was arrested Wednesday after federal authorities said he planned to bomb the U.S. Capitol in a terrorist attack. Agents from the FBI’s Cincinnati-Dayton Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Christopher Cornell (also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah) Wednesday morning at the Point Blank Range & Gunshop.
WCPO They said the 20-year-old purchased two semi-automatic rifles and about 600 rounds of ammunition at the shop before officers arrested him. The FBI said Cornell intended to build, plant and detonate pipe bombs at and near the US Capitol building in to Washington, D.C. Agents said he also planned to use firearms to kill employees and officials trying to escape.
Cornell used the alias Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah on Twitter between beginning last summer and claimed to be an active member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), federal agents said. Documents state he often tweeted statements, videos and other content indicating his support for ISIS, violent jihad and violent attacks committed by others in North America and elsewhere.
A confidential government source made contact with Cornell on Twitter in August and began communicating through an instant messaging program separate from Twitter, FBI Special Agent T.A. Staderman said.
Cornell told the source in a message on Aug. 29 that he was in contact with ISIS members overseas and was ready to start planning an attack.
“He did not think he would receive specific authorization to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States, but stated that he wanted to go forward with violent jihad and opined that this would be their way of supporting (terrorists),” Staderman said. Cornell said:
“I believe that we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks and everything.”
“We already got a thumbs up from the Brothers over there and Anwar al Awlaki before his martyrdom and many others.”
“I believe we should meet up and make our own group in alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves.”
Cornell told the source he needed weapons and wanted to “move” on an attack in December, according to court documents. He also showed the source he had “jihadist videos and information about constructing bombs,” Staderman said.
FBI officials said Cornell told the informant their first meeting was just to get acquainted, and their second meeting would involve the discussion of their “jihadist plans.”