Remarks by Special Agent in Charge Michael Kaste at Press Conference on Car Bomb Plot
|FBI Kansas City December 13, 2013|
Thank you, Barry, and thank you to the members of the FBI Wichita JTTF.
Today’s arrest emphasizes that home grown terrorism is a continuous threat within the United States. Many times we feel protected here in the Heartland...the middle of America—we have a certain sense of security. And we are reminded again today that terrorism remains a very real threat.
Just last month, FBI Director Comey testified before a U.S. Senate Committee on threats to the homeland, and during that testimony he stated:
“First, I worry most at home about the individuals we call “homegrown violent extremist.” They are people who are inspired by al Qaeda, but who direct themselves, and equip themselves, to engage in their own version of jihad on behalf of terrorism interest. “
As law enforcement, we are charged and have an obligation to take action and protect the public whenever an individual expresses a desire to commit violence. Allowing an individual intent on killing people to proceed without a government response is not an option and will never be an option.
Keep in mind, today’s actions by this individual were a choice on his part—a choice to act upon an intent to do harm, and by no means is based upon or should reflect upon any religious community or places of worship. To hijack a peaceful religion, manipulate and exploit it to justify one's criminal actions is no reflection upon individual communities and their religious beliefs.
I want to reassure the public that at no time was the public’s safety at risk, nor was the safety of any traveler at Mid-Continent Airport ever in jeopardy. The threat was real, and Terry Loewen was committed to executing this plan, but I can assure you, the public was never in any danger from the device.
Today’s arrest also emphasizes the tremendous working relationship among law enforcement within the state of Kansas and I must comment on the fine job not only of the FBI employees here in Wichita, but of the members of the Wichita Joint Terrorism Task Force who are here with me today.
Investigations of these types, because of their very nature, are very sensitive and follow strict guidelines governing the use of undercover operations. We base our investigations on sound legal standards with the ultimate goal of keeping U.S. citizens safe while protecting us from a terrorist attack, which is our number one priority. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, work together, working hand in hand with our prosecutors, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Counterterrorism Section at DOJ, ensuring and maintaining adherence to those guidelines.
Finally, as I have mentioned, we rely on our law enforcement partners to do our job, but we also rely heavily on our community partners every day to assist us, to keep our community and our nation safe. Members of the community are our valuable partners—everyone has a role in keeping us safe and a responsibility to remain vigilant.