A “HOMEGROWN” US terrorist who pleaded guilty to trying to bomb a federal courthouse in Chicago’s capitol of Illinois on behalf al-Qaeda, has been jailed for 28 years.
“Michael Finton is one of a number of young Americans over the past two years who, under the influence of a radical and violent ideology, have sought to carry out acts of terrorism in the United States,” said Todd Hinnen, acting assistant attorney general.
“Although a co-ordinated undercover law enforcement investigation thwarted Mr Finton’s plot to destroy the federal courthouse in Springfield, this case underscores the need to remain vigilant against the threat posed by homegrown extremism.”
Finton, 31, pleaded guilty today to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against property owned by the US after he was caught in a 2009 undercover sting.
Finton – a US citizen who lived in Decatur, Illinois – met several times with an undercover agent whom he believed was acting on behalf of al-Qaeda.
During a July 2009 meeting, Finton proposed bombing the Springfield courthouse and proposed that two car bombs be used – one to do the initial damage and another to attack the responders.
He also suggested that if the bomb was big enough it might also “take out” a congressional office across the street, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Finton admitted in a plea agreement to taking possession of a truck that he believed contained a bomb with about a tonne of explosives and parking it outside the federal building.
Finton then activated a timer on the inert bomb and then got into a car with the undercover agent and tried to activate the bomb using a mobile phone once they had driven a safe distance away.
He was then arrested and has been held in jail ever since.