A sensational story of domestic terrorism is playing out in Albany, New York. Officials say two men–arraigned last June for terrorism charges, including conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction–planned to target Muslims with a diabolical weapon that would use high-powered X-rays to kill their victims silently and from a distance. Experts are divided on whether the device could have worked (Salon, 6/22/13; Huffington Post, 6/20/13), but officials assert that the suspects’ plot was well-advanced before it came to the attention of federal authorities.
Glendon Scott Crawford, a General Electric industrial mechanic, member of the Barkersville Christian Church and self-described Ku Klux Klan member, came up with the plan, according to investigators. He was shopping it in Upstate New York synagogues and Jewish organizations, they say, as a weapon that could be used by the Israeli government.
According to the indictment, Crawford met Eric Feight, an executive at an upstate industrial electronics firm, at a synagogue in Schenectady, N.Y., and the two decided to build the radiation weapon and use it on area Muslims. The conspiracy reportedly went awry when a North Carolina Klan official, whom Crawford and Feight allegedly approached for money, cooperated with federal investigators. Crawford took an undercover federal agent on a car ride to scout a local mosque, the Albany Times Union (6/21/13) reported.
Feight, who is expected to testify against Crawford, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday; Crawford plead not guilty (TimesUnion.com, 1/22/14).
Despite its compelling–not to say bizarre–details, there’s been little coverage of the story outside the Albany region. The New York Times, published 150 miles away, ran a single story (6/20/13) about the plot after the arraignments last June–on page 24.
It’s hard not to think back on previous undercovered terrorism stories and conclude that if suspects in this story were Muslims, and their alleged targets Christians or Jews, it would have dominated our media world for the past several months.