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The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for an alleged plot to attack the U.S. Capitol with pipe bombs and semiautomatic rifles, claiming he was a homegrown ISIS sympathizer who wanted to do some terrorism.


Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, was arrested in Cincinnati on Wednesday, shortly after buying two AR-15s from a local gun shop. And, in a huge surprise twist, it turns out that Cornell's collaborator was an FBI informant, although Cornell thought the man was a fellow ISIS wannabe whom he'd met online. CNN says the informant was "a man in trouble with the law who worked with the agency to improve his legal standing," so that pretty much screams "credible source," doesn't it?

The alleged plan was that Cornell would set off pipe bombs inside the Capitol building, then he and the partner would shoot people as they fled; the FBI says lawmakers weren't in any danger.

The informant told the FBI he'd been in contact on Twitter with Cornell in August and had suggested that they join Big Terrorist Dream forces for an attack in support of ISIS. Whatever his actual ability, Cornell appears to have been quite sincere about wanting to do some terror, allegedly writing that he'd been in contact with "people overseas" and texting his "partner" about what they should do:

"I believe we should meet up and make our own group in alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves," Cornell allegedly messaged him.

The two met up a couple times in Cincinnati, and Cornell allegedly did research on building pipe bombs. Once he went ahead and purchased the rifles, the FBI arrested him.

Christopher Cornell's father doesn't believe that his son was much of a terrorist, and that he didn't even have enough money to buy the guns:

"He had $1,287 saved up. These guns cost over $1,700," John Cornell said. He thinks someone else had to make up the difference and blames the FBI. He thinks his son was pushed into the plan.

He also describes his son as, frankly, kind of a wimp, saying that he mostly stayed at home and didn't have a job:

"He's a big mama's boy, you know. His best friend is his kitty cat. There's no way he could have carried out any kind of terrorist plot," Cornell's father said. "He didn't even drive; he didn't have a car."

He had recently converted to Islam, which gave him inner peace, John Cornell said [...]

But an ISIS follower?

"Heck no," John Cornell said. "There's no way my son was involved with ISIS."

Gee dad, way to be supportive of your son's ambitions. We can hardly wait for Fox News "psychiatrist" Keith Ablow to do his trademark diagnosis by news clip of the Cornell family's dynamics.

So now we can all feel safer, knowing that a nebbish with some delusions of doing terrorism was intercepted by the FBI before he could meet any real terrorists. We imagine that we'll eventually find out more about how much of Cornell's plot came from Cornell, and how much from the FBI, if he ever goes to trial (maybe). But who knows, maybe he was a real threat. Lord knows that Oswald guy was just a motivated Marine with a hazy agenda and a mail-order rifle, and he didn't even have a Twitter account.

There's also this delightedly overheated bit of local teevee journalism, with the reporter excitedly squatting down and patting the very spot on the pavement where Cornell was arrested by the FBI outside the gun shop:

"Armed with rifles, the FBI's goal is instead to rifle through Cornell's room and computer." Local Emmy time, we'd say!

[CNN / WCPO]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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