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Texas man pleads guilty to Amazon data center bombing plot


Texas man who officials say bragged about witnessing the Jan.6 uprising on the U.S. Capitol with a sawn-off shotgun in his car pleaded guilty to conspiring to detonate an Amazon data center in Virginia.

Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, of Wichita Falls, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a malicious attempt to destroy a building with an explosive and faces five to 20 years in federal prison, the Justice Department said.

Pendley was arrested in April after authorities said he was seeking explosive devices from an undercover FBI employee in Fort Worth, after announcing his intention to “kill around 70% of the Internet” by destroying the tech giant’s data centers.


The Washington Post via Getty Images

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol on January 6. Seth Aaron Pendley, who has been accused of plotting to blow up an Amazon data center, claimed to have brought a gun with him.

“We may never know how many technician lives were saved as a result of this operation – and we’re thankful we never had to find out. Bringing domestic extremists to justice remains one of the department’s top priorities, ”Acting US Prosecutor Prerak Shah said in a statement.

Pendley, using the online name “Dionysus”, shared on a militia website his intentions to conduct “a little experiment” that would result in “death”. It came after he expressed his frustration – on the same site – that more people did not bring guns in the January 6 riot, as he did, according to a copy. of the criminal indictment obtained by the HuffPost.

“How much did you expect to make when we all go voluntarily unarmed,” he reportedly wrote. “I only left it in my car after seeing 0 accompany me to my business.”

A person identified as a “confidential source” by law enforcement informed authorities of his online activity while sharing encrypted messages Pendley had sent through the Signal app, which detailed his plans to commit violence, the authorities said.

Pendley gave this source a list of data center addresses he was targeting and hand-drawn maps. When the source offered to help him get some C4 explosives, Pendley replied, “Fuck yeah.” The source then introduced Pendley to an undercover FBI employee, who was identified by Pendley as an explosives supplier, authorities said.

“The main objective is to screw up Amazon’s servers,” Pendley reportedly told the FBI employee in recorded conversations.

Pendley said that by destroying the servers he hoped to anger “the oligarchy” enough to provoke a backlash that would convince the American people to take action against what he perceived to be a “dictatorship,” prosecutors said. .

Pendley eventually met the undercover FBI employee to receive what he believed to be explosive devices. (They weren’t.) The agent showed Pendley how to arm and detonate the ineffective devices. Pendley then loaded them into his car, resulting in his arrest.

A subsequent search of Pendley’s home resulted in the recovery of a rifle receiver with a sawn off barrel, a pistol painted to look like a toy gun, and a machete with the name “Dionysus” on the blade. There were also masks, wigs, hand-drawn cards and flashcards related to the planned attack, authorities said.

A lawyer for Pendley did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on Thursday.

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