The PJ Tatler

ISIS-Inspired Ohio Man Plotted to Bomb U.S. Capitol, Shoot Those Who Fled

An Ohio man inspired by ISIS was arrested today for planning to target the U.S. Capitol with pipe bombs, and then to shoot anyone fleeing the building.

ABC News reports:

The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an ISIS-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.

Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, of Green Township, was arrested today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official, authorities said.

According to government documents, he allegedly planned to detonate pipe bombs at the national landmark and open fire on any employees and officials fleeing after the explosions.

The FBI first noticed Cornell several months ago after an informant notified the agency that Cornell was allegedly voicing support for violent “jihad” on Twitter accounts under the alias “Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah,” according to charging documents. In addition, Cornell allegedly posted statements, videos and other content expressing support for ISIS — the brutal terrorist group also known as ISIL — that is wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.

“I believe that we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks and everything,” Cornell allegedly wrote in an online message to the informant in August, according to the FBI. “I believe we should meet up and make our own group in alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves.”

In the message, Cornell said that such attacks “already got a thumbs up” from radical cleric Anwar Awlaki “before his martyrdom.”

It looks like both his Facebook and Twitter accounts have already been deactivated.

We have a mugshot:

Here’s what purports to be a photo (presumably a high school pic, HT: B’emet Or):

And this looks like a picture taken during his arrest today:

This hits home for me for three reasons.

First, I have many friends and colleagues who work in the Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings.

Second, this suspect comes from Ohio, where I live. For years I’ve been writing about the problem of Islamic radicalization in my home state, including here at PJ Media. For several years I maintained a running blog with Ohio-related terrorism news.

Third, my colleague Steve Coughlin and I were at an event in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in February 2012 when Amine El-Khalifi was arrested heading towards the Visitor Center with what he thought was a suicide bomb strapped to himself. Fortunately, it was an FBI sting operation. As we left the event we noticed that Capitol Police were stationed about every 30 yards with M4 rifles at the ready. I keep my visitor’s badge from that day on my desk to remind me of how close I came to (potential) danger:


The deputy social media editor of The Daily Beast, Asawin Suebsaeng, has some profound thoughts on Cornell’s arrest:

Yes, because he said he was going to kill people in the name of Ohio.

UPDATE: Here’s the criminal complaint.

USA v Christopher Lee Cornell – Complaint by Nathaniel Pruitt