FBI sting brings end to attempted bombing.
In a move that comes straight out of a comedy sketch, a man in Oklahoma has been arrested for a months-long plot to blow up a branch of the largest chartered bank in the state. Located only half a mile from the site of the Oklahoma City Bombing in the early ’90s, the young would-be terrorist had militia-inspired aspirations of sticking it to the government in a monumental way.
Cue the FBI. Through a confidential informant, undercover agents met with Jerry Drake Varnell when he sought help with the right kind of explosives. After multiple meetings and communications, the plot was hatched. Varnell would park the bomb-laden van in close proximity to the bank, leave the area, then dial a number on a cell phone that would detonate the explosives.
Fortunately, the undercover agents were putting the entire thing in motion, and therefore the van was not actually a vehicular bomb. It was filled with dummy devices, and the phone call from Varnell’s phone had no effect other than to cement his intent to blow up the building. The authorities placed him under arrest and he is awaiting the judicial process.
Varnell’s family claims this was more like a setup rather than a sting operation. Vocal internet support has also hinted that the FBI found a perfect fall guy in the 23-year-old, mentally ill, angry man, and simply furthered this event in order to look like the good guys. As recent events have shown us, though, there’s no shortage of violent, unstable people willing to take a lot of lives to further their own anti-government agenda; it’s not very likely that the authorities would need to go to such lengths or look very far for someone already hatching such a plan.
While Varnell’s fate is still far from decided, the FBI has issued a public statement to the effect that the city was never in any danger from the alleged activities, despite the defendant’s bizarre plans and communications.