WICHITA, Kan. – A man accused of plotting a suicide bomb attack at a Kansas airport was "well on his way" to becoming a violent terrorist before authorities began investigating him, federal prosecutors argued Monday.
Terry Loewen, a former avionics technician, was arrested in December 2013 after authorities say he tried to bring a van filled with inert explosives onto the tarmac at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita. His arrest capped a sting operation in which undercover FBI agents posed as co-conspirators and gave him the fake explosives.
In a court filing, the government seeks to counter defense claims that an undercover FBI agent radicalized Loewen and induced him to commit the crime. The heavily redacted public version of the document was devoid of most of the facts behind the case supporting the prosecution's arguments.
"The conduct of the government was not outrageous; rather, it would have been outrageous for the FBI to leave the defendant to his own devices, trolling the internet for someone to help him give action to his violent intentions," prosecutors wrote.
Loewen has pleaded not guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to use an explosive device to damage property and attempting to give material support to al-Qaida.
Defense attorneys contend that the evidence of government entrapment is so strong that the indictment should be thrown out even before the case goes to a jury. They argued Loewen had no predisposition to commit the crime when the government began its investigation in June 2013.
The government disagrees. It argued the facts show Loewen knew what he believed and was not easily influenced by what others told him Islam represented.
"At the time the FBI began appropriately applying their reasonable investigative resources to this defendant, he already was well on his way to becoming a violent terrorist; he embodied the dangerous, disturbing, and chilling definition of predisposition," the government wrote.