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Behind A Klansman's Plan To Kill Muslims With A Radiation Death Beam

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According to a federal court document, Crawford was "denied assistance" at the synagogue. But he was not deterred. That same day, he called up a different Jewish organization -- the document does not specify which one beyond saying that it has a facility in Albany -- and made a similar overture. Crawford also asked for financial help with his project. The person who took Crawford's call later told the FBI that they spoke with Crawford for about 10 minutes. On the call, Crawford allegedly said the technology he was talking about could kill Israel's enemies in their sleep. He also said the technology could be purchased for a significant amount of money.

You may have already heard how this story ended. Crawford, 49, and an associate, Eric Feight, 54, were arrested by the FBI on Tuesday, and both charged with conspiracy to "provide material support, or resources, intending that they be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, a violation of Title 18, U.S.C. § 2332a (use of a weapon of mass destruction)." In layman's terms, Crawford and Feight were allegedly trying to create a truck-mounted, remote controlled, radiation death beam. According to an FBI affidavit written in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrants for Crawford and Feight, Crawford specifically identified "Muslims and several other individuals/groups as targets."

The 65-page affidavit, filed in federal court in Albany on Tuesday, provides numerous details about Crawford and Feight's activities over the past 14 months. Before their arrests, the duo, helped by others, had already allegedly built and tested a remote control device that they planned to integrate with a "a truck-borne, industrial-grade x-ray system," as the affidavit puts it. But the affidavit also shows how quickly and thoroughly the feds had intercepted Crawford's plan, and how far they strung him and Feight along until their arrests.

Within six weeks of his unsuccessful outreach to the two Jewish organizations, the FBI had put a confidential source in touch with Crawford. During a meeting with that source on May 30, 2012, Crawford allegedly gave that confidential source a webpage printout of the specs of the radiation emitting device, a printout of the Wikipedia page on Acute Radiation Sickness, a two page hand-written sketch of a radiation emitting device, and a business card for the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Crawford told the source he was a member.

A few weeks later, the source set up another meeting with Crawford, and this time an undercover FBI agent joined in. The source allegedly told Crawford that the undercover agent was willing to support Crawford's plan, and Crawford referred to the populations he wanted to target with his device as "medical waste."

The FBI actually had Crawford cornered from two sides. In August, Crawford drove down to North Carolina to meet with a person described in the court document as a "ranking member" of the Ku Klux Klan. Crawford pitched his death ray plan to the klan leader. But the Klan leader didn't help. Instead, he became a cooperating witness in the FBI's investigation. In October 2012, in Greensboro, N.C., the Klan leader introduced Crawford to two undercover FBI agents posing as Klan members and "Southern businessmen of means." At the meeting, Crawford allegedly described the device he was planning and asked for money for the purchase of an industrial strength x-ray system.

From then until this past Saturday, the affidavit states, Crawford worked "steadily." He recruited Feight, who he knew through his job at General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y. Crawford was an industrial mechanic for GE. Feight was an outside contractor with mechanical and engineering skills. According to the affidavit, Feight was aware of Crawford's plan to use the device on humans.

On Nov. 14, 2012, Crawford and Feight met one of the undercover agents at a coffee shop outside Albany. At the meeting, Feight spoke with some hesitation about his involvement.

"Yeah, yeah," Feight said at one point, according to the affidavit. "So, I mean, I, I, I have to admit having never been involved in anything like this before, you know, at first it made me a little bit nervous and, I'm like, okay, well, you know, as long as I still have some, you know, real good separation, plausible deniability, you know."

According to the affidavit, both Crawford and Feight cited political motivations as part of their reasons for getting involved in the plot. At the same November meeting, Feight talked about his "nervousness about how much involvement I was gonna get in this kind of got outweighed, uh, quickly with, you know, when I started seeing how things, the direction things were going and then certainly after the elections."

"It's like well, okay, you know, that old saying is right," Feight continued. "You know, the only thing necessary for evil to trump is for good men to do nothing."

Since December 2012, the FBI has been intercepting Crawford's calls and text messages. On April 15, the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, Crawford sent a five-part message to someone who goes unnamed in the affidavit. It read as follows:

"Well, tell it to your treasonous bedwetting maggot in chief. He started bringing the scumbags have (sic) wholesale as he got in charge. He directed the ins to start bringing muzzies here without background checks. Your background was scrutinized more to join the army than any muslim scum gets to come here. They don't have to follow any laws, and this administration has done more to enable a government sponsored invasion than the press can cover up. Be pissed, but get the word out that obamas policies caused this. You watch, they will downplay the muslim angle if they dont cover it up. Be pissed. I am too. I been warning this was coming. Its here."

Crawford and Feight both made initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Albany on Wednesday. U.S. Magistrate Christian Hummel told Crawford he would be assigned an attorney, according to The Albany Times-Union.

"Is it going to be the right kind of attorney for this?" Crawford asked the judge.

About The Author

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com