FBI officials announced Friday they arrested a Kansas man who allegedly plotted to launch a suicide bomb attack at the Wichita airport.
According to multiple reports, the man planned to drive a van full of explosives into Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport.
The suspect has been identified as Terry Loewen, 58. Officials say he worked at the airport as an avionics technician.
The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Loewen, Grissom said, as he tried to enter the airport’s tarmac Friday. Officials say he was attempting to deliver a vehicle containing explosives. They expected Loewen to detonate the bomb, and kill himself in the process.
The public was not in danger, Grissom said.
Loewen has been charged in federal court with one count each of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to damage property with explosives, reports say.
The defendant was arrested as part of an FBI undercover investigation, and the device used by the defendant was, in fact, inert and at no time posed a danger to the public.
Kansas Rep. Jerry MoranJerry MoranSenate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules Overnight Tech: Bill protecting online reviews heads to Obama | New addition to FCC transition team | Record Cyber Monday Overnight Finance: Trump expected to pick Steven Mnuchin for Treasury | Budget chair up for grabs | Trump team gets deal on Carrier jobs MORE (R) thanked law enforcement officials for their work in a statement.
“We are grateful for the law enforcement officials who kept individuals, including many Kansans, safe today. This incident is a reminder that we must remain vigilant and reaffirm our commitment to protecting this country and its ideals from those who wish to do us harm.”
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R), whose district covers Wichita, issued a similar statement.
"My deepest thanks for the dedication and hard work of our intelligence community in the constant fight to keep Kansans safe," he said. "This incident is a stark reminder of the threat we continue to face from radical Islamic terrorism here in the homeland. Threats to the heartland of America from jihadists, sometimes homegrown, are and will continue to be real and we must ensure that our intelligence community has the tools needed to connect the dots worldwide. We can do so while protecting fundamental civil liberties and we must do so with all of the constitutional methods available.”
This story was updated at 3:35 p.m.