Rock­land man planned Elex Day chaos, say feds


A Rock­land County man who cops say built a 200-pound bomb he was plan­ning to ex­plode in Wash­ing­ton in an Elec­tion Day sui­cide at­tack was ar­rested Wed­nes­day.

Paul Rosen­feld, 56, of Tap­pan, was busted on fed­eral charges of man­u­fac­tur­ing an ex­plo­sive de­vice.

“As al­leged, Paul M. Rosen­feld con­cocted a twisted plan to draw at­ten­tion to his po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy by killing him­self on the Na­tional Mall in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — risk­ing harm to many oth­ers in the process,” Man­hat­tan U.S. At­tor­ney Geoffrey Ber­man said.

“Rosen­feld’s al­leged plan for an Elec­tion Day det­o­na­tion cut against our demo­cratic prin­ci­ples.”

In Au­gust and Septem­ber, Rosen­feld sent let­ters and text mes­sages to a per­son in Penn­syl­va­nia de­tail­ing his scheme, au­thor­i­ties al­lege. The re­cip­i­ent of those com­mu­ni­ca­tions went to the FBI, court pa­pers show.

Rosen­feld wanted to draw at­ten­tion to his be­lief in “sor­ti­tion,” a po­lit­i­cal the­ory that ad­vo­cates the ap­point­ment of govern­ment of­fi­cials by ran­dom se­lec­tion from a pool of qual­i­fied can­di­dates.

When cops stopped his car Tues­day, Rosen­feld waived his Mi­randa rights and told of­fi­cers he or­dered large quan­ti­ties of black pow­der over the in­ter­net, which he trans­ported from a spot in New Jer­sey to his house, au­thor­i­ties say.

He used a burner phone to com­mu­ni­cate with peo­ple about his plot, the records show.

He said he used ap­prox­i­mately 8 pounds of black pow­der to build an ex­plo­sive de­vice in the base­ment of the home. He also dis­closed that he had tested smaller de­vices.

His home was searched and agents say they found a func­tion­ing bomb weigh­ing about 200 pounds in­side a ply­wood box. The de­vice was taken from the base­ment and brought to a se­cure lo­ca­tion.

They also found a fus­ing sys­tem for trig­ger­ing bombs and empty can­is­ters of black pow­der. The fus­ing sys­tem was made up of a switch that would gen­er­ate an elec­tri­cal charge that would spark an e-match in­side the bomb.

Sor­ti­tion as a po­lit­i­cal doc­trine has its roots in an­cient Greece where some cities, in­clud­ing Athens, used the method to choose its lead­ers.

Rosen­feld con­tibuted an es­say, “The Ex­tinc­tion of Pol­i­tics” to Equal­i­ty­by­ He de­scribed him­self as a “Klero­tar­ian,” a ref­er­ence to a stone de­vice used by the Athe­ni­ans to ran­dom­ize vot­ing.

In that 2015 es­say, he wrote, “If we ever hope to see this think­ing con­verted into ac­tion that will have to change. Some­how we must con­vince enough peo­ple to put our move­ment on the map. For this, we will need a highly ef­fec­tive ar­gu­ment, be­cause the peo­ple we wish to per­suade are liv­ing un­der the thrall of a myth.”

He added, “And like true be­liev­ers, fun­da­men­tal­ists even, each fur­ther ob­sta­cle is taken as a sign; the path is right­eous but rocky; we must pu­rify our faith and trudge ever on­ward. When we are fi­nally wor­thy, the Demo­cratic Process will at last de­liver us. The road to true rev­er­ence has been long.”

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