A 23-year-old anti-government “revolutionary” allegedly parked what he thought was a 1,000-pound car bomb in an alley next to the BancFirst building in downtown Oklahoma City with intentions to recreate the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by homegrown terrorist Timothy McVeigh.
The extremist’s Facebook bio reads, “We are the sons and daughters of European Heritage, and we are tired of being treated as second class citizens. LOUD, PROUD, and very PISSED OFF!”
Jerry Drake Varnell, who is white, reportedly planned to set off the bomb for months. Initially, he was interested in bombing the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., but later changed his mind. Little did he know, the authorities were on to him and the chemical explosives he had procured were actually fake — because his co-conspirator, unbeknownst to him, was an undercover FBI agent.
According to the bureau, an unidentified source alerted law enforcement about Varnell’s intentions in December 2016. The informant, who is reportedly serving a prison sentence for a probation violation, also shared screenshots of conversations he had with the alleged extremist on secure messaging platforms.
“I’m out for blood. When militias start getting formed, I’m going after government officials when I have a team,” Varnell told the confidential source, according to the authorities. He also allegedly discussed the explosives, saying, “I think I’m going to go with what the OKC bomber used. Diesel and anhydrous ammonia.”
An undercover FBI agent then met Varnell under the pseudonym “the Professor” and agreed to provide him with desired explosives. The agent also recorded their conversation on June 1 of this year, where Varnell mentioned his “Three Percenter” ideology — an anti-government ideology that believes only 3 percent of the colonial population participated in the American Revolution. It is specifically popular among right-wing militia.
The complaint filed against him said Varnell “took a series of actions to advance his plot. He identified BancFirst as the target, prepared a statement to be posted on social media after the explosion, helped assemble the device, helped load it into what he believed was a stolen van, drove the van by himself from El Reno to BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City, and dialed a number on a cellular telephone that he believed would trigger the explosion.”
Varnell allegedly dialed the number on the undercover FBI agent’s “burner phone” at least thrice — unaware he was actually calling an FBI number. The phone obviously did not detonate the bomb and the FBI task force arrested him.
“There was never a concern that our community’s safety or security was at risk during this investigation,” said Kathryn Peterson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oklahoma. “I can assure the public, without hesitation, that we had Varnell’s actions monitored every step of the way.”
Varnell, who also allegedly preparing a “bunker,” was apparently concerned someone else might take responsibility for the attack, the report continued.
As if his intentions were not clear enough, he reportedly wanted to claim responsibility with this social media post:
“What happened in Oklahoma City was not an attack on America, it was retaliation. Retaliation against the freedoms that have been taken away from the American people. It was a wake up call to both the government and the people. An act done to show the government what the people thinks of its actions. It is also a call to arms, to show people that there are still fighters among the American people. The time for revolution is now.”
Raul Bujanda, an FBI assistant special agent in charge for Oklahoma City, said Varnell held an “anti-government” ideology — as evident by his social media posts.
However, despite being a huge incident, the news of Varnell’s arrest failed to have much of an impact, raising a very important question.
Jerry D. Varnell, arrested Saturday for trying to set off a car bomb in Oklahoma City, to ZERO media coverage— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) August 14, 2017
Now imagine if he was Muslim pic.twitter.com/K5AdM0MVfh
Some internet users were also quick to point out the way Varnell was being addressed — as if he were a misguided kid who did something stupid, when in reality, he was a white extremist who planned to carry out an act of domestic terrorism that would have cost scores of lives.
*Man— Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) August 14, 2017
*Note the lack of the word "terrorist" or "terrorism" pic.twitter.com/QmSwUkzMj3
The people in court today for terror and terror related crimes in Oklahoma and Virginia. pic.twitter.com/vYQcdLjaql— Scott McGrew (@ScottMcGrew) August 14, 2017
President Donald Trump and his administration, which has a penchant for making up terror attacks, also did not react to the arrest.
These white supremacists are plotting these "Turner Diaries" style terror attacks, and Trump won't punish them https://t.co/q8gWmTjFOo— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) August 14, 2017
Meanwhile, the alleged domestic terrorist’s brother claimed the 23-year-old suffers from schizophrenia.
Varnell is facing the charge of attempted destruction of a building by means of an explosive.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Thumbnail/Banner: Oklahoma Department of Corrections