U.S. News


Wichita Airport Worker Arrested In Alleged Suicide Bomb Plot

Federal authorities accuse Terry Loewen of planning to detonate a car bomb on the tarmac of Wichita Mid-Continental Airport.
Posted at 5:51 PM, Dec 13, 2013

A Kansas man was arrested Friday morning because authorities believe he plotted to detonate a car bomb on the tarmac of a Wichita airport.

Officials say 58-year-old Terry Loewen worked as an avionics expert at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. Investigators say he converted to radical Islam after reading extremist material on the Internet. (Via New York Daily News)

According to police, Loewen came up with a plan to use his security clearance at the airport to access the tarmac and detonate a car bomb, killing himself in the blast. (Via KWCH)

Federal investigators posing as sympathetic Islamic extremists first made contact with Loewen this summer over the Internet, where he told the agents about his desire to become a martyr.

During an online chat, Loewen reportedly told the agents: "I have become radicalized in the strongest sense of the word. ... I MUST be active in some kind of (dare I say it) jihad to feel I'm doing something proactive. ... Direct jihad against a [civilian] target is not out of the question." (Via U.S. District Courts)

On the day of his planned operation, federal agents in disguise supplied Loewen with dummy explosives. Loewen was arrested at the airport while trying to access the tarmac. (Via The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback called Loewen's arrest a substantial victory in the fight against terrorism.

"The good guys won one today. A joint operation with federal, state and local components captured a would-be terrorist before he caused any harm." (Via KAKE)

Loewen is charged with three terrorism-related counts and could face life in prison if convicted on all three.