Gov. Brownback: Homegrown terrorism can happen anywhere

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, the development that was gripping the nation's attention before we got wind of this, in Kansas, a man charged with trying to bomb an airport.

Terry Lee Loewen, a former aviation technician who was at employed at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport, authorities say that he planned to explode a car bomb at the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita when he was arrested this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Agents arrested him at about 5:40 a.m. as he attempted to use his access card to enter the tarmac to deliver the vehicle loaded with he believed to be high explosives.


CAVUTO: Now, authorities say that when Loewen planned this, he wanted to die a martyr. He was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, among other charges.

With us right now is Governor Sam Brownback. He was at the press briefing, joins me now in this first-on-Fox interview.

Governor, thank you, on a crazy day, for joining us.

What new can you tell us, sir?

GOV. SAM BROWNBACK, R-KAN.: Most of it is in the report or in the court filings, Neil.

You have got an individual that the authorities had been following for six months. This was really in some respects a textbook case of coordination between federal, state and local individuals. This person that expressed jihadist sentiments started to act them on out.

And, fortunately, the good guys won one today, and he wasn't able to do that, and he is now locked up and charged with these crimes.

CAVUTO: When did they hook up with him or discover him, and then all of this came to fruition?

BROWNBACK: About six months ago.

It started out on -- they found him, Internet. He made these sort of intimations, the things that he was interested in doing. Some -- and people got on top of it, and got on top of it well, and then he was able to be caught in the overall process.

I think, Neil, the big thing, big takeaway from this one today was the good guys won one, and this was -- this was averted. But it also means that it can happen anywhere, just like we're listening to your show about what is happening in Colorado today. Homegrown terrorism can happen anywhere. And this one was averted today.

CAVUTO: Now, he obviously was going to have the vehicle filled with what he thought explosive material. And what was he going to do? Where was he going to go with it?

BROWNBACK: He was going to go in to use his access into the airport, and he was going to go in and detonate it as a time where the most people could be injured, killed, and that he could die a martyr.

Neil, it's a chilling letter.

CAVUTO: Well, he was going to do it at one of these gate points, Governor, or was he going to try to ram a plane? Do we know what his intentions were?

BROWNBACK: It -- I'm trying to remember what I can say and what I can't say.

He was going to go in and take this device and detonate it at a juncture there of the airport where multiple planes and the people at the airport would be injured and/or killed. That was his effort and his desire to die as martyr. What's chilling, too, about it, Neil, is the things that he is saying, these are the sort of things I was reading as a U.S. senator after 9/11 when the jihadists were hitting us at that point in time. It reads eerily similar, even his note that he left to his wife about it.

CAVUTO: You know, interesting, Governor, in this, very similar to the fellow who had wanted to do the same outside the New York Fed a couple of years back, the same type of a strategy. Fill a device, a van, I believe it was the case at the time, with explosive material, ram the New York Fed, which would have been in a very tightly packed building area of downtown Manhattan, lower Wall Street, not too far from the New York Stock Exchange.

That would have of course wreaked financial havoc, to say nothing of the physical damage it -- and bodily damage it would have done, but that it's interesting, in both these incidents, and we have had others like it, another with a former Iranian expatriate who wanted to do the same to a number of lower New York post offices, to fill a vehicle up and just ram it into something.

BROWNBACK: That is what they're looking at doing.

Now, on this one, he was going to detonate it with him in it.

CAVUTO: Right.

BROWNBACK: But the same effort was about -- this is about creating a huge amount of carnage, doing it close to Christmas, doing it in the heartland, so that people would be scared everywhere.

And you're looking at -- understanding the mentality of it is what I find the most difficult thing to do. Why -- how can somebody get in that mental condition being willing to do that? And yet somebody that has this sort of jihadist mentality, whether they're here or somewhere else, can get to that state to be able to have that ideology and willingness to carry it on out.

CAVUTO: Governor, do we know whether he was part of a ring? Was it just him, that, authorities, did they trace whether he had help or was at least looking to help?

BROWNBACK: He appears to be a lone wolf in this.

It appears as if he got this on the Internet, decided to move on forward with it, got the mentality himself, and pulled that -- pulled that out of himself and was going to do it on his own. He needed help in being able to get the bomb constructed. And that's where he made his mistake about reaching out for that help and we were able to intercept it.

CAVUTO: You know, Governor, final question, probably a very dumb one on my part, so I shouldn't push my luck.

But, obviously, authorities were monitoring very, very closely and wanted to make damn sure that he wasn't going to pull this off, but what if it was too touch and go? What if he had a different day or something, they weren't monitoring him right? I mean, that would have been a very different case, obviously, you know?

BROWNBACK: It would have been a very different case. But they were also being very cautious about this. He didn't have some pieces that he needed to pull off this plan. And that is where he was intercepted early enough, and he didn't have the device.


CAVUTO: I'm sorry, Governor.

What I meant to say, is sometimes they have a feeling, oh, they're on to me or they're doing something here, maybe I can one-up them and surprise them.

But there was certainly no hint that he -- he was surprised when he was apprehended. Right?

BROWNBACK: He was surprised when he was apprehended. He -- so, he didn't have anything let on to him. He didn't catch on to it.

CAVUTO: Gotcha.

BROWNBACK: And this was -- this was held very tight.

Neil, I want to thank the FBI. They did a great job in this. And I am very appreciative for what they have done. And they worked very well with state and local officials. This is how the government is supposed to work. And that worked well today.

CAVUTO: All right, Governor, thank you very much. I know you have had an exceptionally crazy day today. And we do appreciate your taking the time.

Again, for those of you, just updating you, there could have been a near terror incident, one that authorities had stopped mid-track, in fact, had joined along to catch the guy would wanted to essentially blow up a good chunk of Wichita Airport there and take out a lot of people, on the same day we saw what amounted to yet another school shooting today in Colorado.

That, too, could have been a lot worse. We know at this point that the shooter is dead, one student is in critical condition at an area hospital, but falling, as it does, the day before the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook, and 23 victims, most of them just little children, kindergarten and first graders, I believe, at the time, it just reminds people of just the fickleness of life and the tragedy of timing.

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