A U.S. soldier was charged Monday for distributing information about bomb-making. He also allegedly expressed an interest in traveling to Ukraine to fight with the far-right nationalist group Azov Battalion.
Jarret William Smith, 24, was arrested on Saturday, ABC News first reported.
According to court documents, Smith reportedly talked with a confidential FBI source “about killing members of the far left group, Antifa, as well as destroying nearby cell towers or local [sic] news station.”
Smith joined the army in June of 2017, according to charging documents the FBI shared with TPM, but in December 2018 allegedly discussed his knowledge of IEDs on a Facebook chat. (Read the full court document below.)
“I got knowledge of IEDs for days,” he wrote, per an FBI agent’s affidavit. “We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that.”
The instructions he proceeded to share, the affidavit said, was found to be “accurate” by an FBI bomb technician.
Smith allegedly told the confidential FBI source that he was looking for “radicals.” Separately, he described the potential bombing of what the FBI described as a “a major American news network” with “a large vehicle bomb.”
The FBI, its affidavit said, had also received information that Smith had spoken about his desire to travel to Ukraine and fight with Azov Ballation, a violent ultranationalist group. Smith allegedly connected on Facebook and even met once in person with Craig Lang, an American who allegedly fought with the Ukrainian right-wing group Right Sector between 2017 and 2019.
The website Bellingcat reported earlier this year on Azov Battalion’s efforts to recruit right-wing extremists in America.
Separately, Smith allegedly told an undercover FBI employee who asked for bomb making help: “Making AK-47s out of expensive parts is cool, but imagine of you will [sic] if you were going to WalMart instead of gun store to buy weapons.”
The subsequent alleged conversation, reprinted in the affidavit, shows Smith giving extensive instructions for various bombs.
After the undercover FBI employee told Smith he was targeting a liberal mayor in Texas, he asked Smith if Smith knew of any potential targets in Texas.
“You got anyone down in Texas that would be a good fit for fire, destruction and death?” the FBI employee asked.
“Outside of Beto?” Smith allegedly replied. “I don’t know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died.”
After Smith was arrested, he admitted that he had provided information about explosives to individuals, even after they told him they intended to use the information to harm others, the affidavit said.
Read the criminal complaint against Smith below: