Real and determined terrorists will almost certainly not brag about their upcoming exploits on social media. Posting such musings for all to see is more likely indicative of mental infirmity than true terroristic tendencies.
Nevertheless, social media provides fertile ground for FBI agents and federal prosecutors to make names for themselves by "preventing" terrorist attacks. That the perpetrators are typically mentally and/or emotionally challenged and only following a plot scripted by the FBI and their informants is rarely reported.
The latest iteration of this well-worn story occurred on April 10, 2015, when 20-year-old John T. Booker, Jr., of Topeka, Kansas, was arrested by federal agents for allegedly plotting to detonate a bomb at the Fort Riley military base in Kansas. Various media outlets dutifully reported the government's version of events, complete with headlines like "Kansas man tried to bomb U.S. military base" and "Kansas man accused of plotting to detonate bomb at Fort Riley military base."
Booker was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property with an explosive, and attempting to provide material support to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
The FBI reportedly began investigating Booker shortly after he tried to join the Army a year ago. Soon thereafter, he posted messages to Facebook indicating he was getting ready to wage a holy war.
"Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!! I am so nervous. NOT because I'm scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord," Booker allegedly posted.
The complaint says the FBI first became aware of Mr. Booker on March 15, 2014, when a citizen alerted them to statements he had posted on Facebook, which allegedly included, "I will soon be leaving you forever so goodbye! I'm going to wage jihad and hopes (sic) that I die.''
It is little wonder then that the Army rejected Booker. Sensing an opportunity, the FBI sent undercover operatives to talk with him over the next several months in an effort to elicit incriminating statements, according to the complaint. Booker allegedly told these undercover informants, most likely after sufficient prompting, that he wanted to carry out a suicide bombing at the Fort Riley Army base on behalf of ISIS.