SUICIDE BOMB PLOT IS KAYOED
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 Equalitybylot.com. 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.”