Man charged with plotting to blow up an Amazon data center

The New York Times:

Man Who Boasted He Was at Capitol Riot Is Charged in Bomb Plot

“A Texas man who boasted that he was at the United States Capitol when a pro-Trump mob stormed the building in January has been charged with plotting to blow up an Amazon data center in Virginia, the Justice Department said on Friday.”

“The man, Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, of Wichita Falls, was arrested on Thursday after he took what he believed were explosive devices from a bomb supplier but were in fact inert objects provided by an undercover F.B.I. agent in Fort Worth, prosecutors said.”

” … If convicted, Mr. Pendley faces 20 years in prison.”

“Federal officials said they had begun investigating the plot after a concerned citizen contacted the F.B.I. on Jan. 8 about alarming statements posted on, a forum dedicated to organizing militia groups.”

“A user with the screen name Dionysus wrote that he was planning to “conduct a little experiment” that he said would “draw a lot of heat” and could be “dangerous,” prosecutors said.”

“According to the statement, when another user asked what Dionysus wanted, he responded, “death.” A confidential source provided the F.B.I. with the user’s email address, which was registered to Mr. Pendley, prosecutors said.” (…)

“In late January, Mr. Pendley began using Signal, an encrypted messaging app, to communicate with another confidential source, prosecutors said. That source told the F.B.I. that Mr. Pendley had said he planned to use plastic explosives to bomb Amazon Web Services data centers, an attack that he hoped would “kill off about 70 percent of the internet.””

“In recorded conversations, Mr. Pendley told the undercover agent that he believed the attack would destroy the web servers used by the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and other federal agencies, prosecutors said. Mr. Pendley said he hoped the bombing would anger “the oligarchy.””

“On April 8, Mr. Pendley met with the undercover F.B.I. agent to pick up what he believed to be explosive devices but were in fact inert objects, prosecutors said.”


A Far-Right Extremist Allegedly Plotted to Blow Up Amazon Data Centers

“Pendley’s posts came at a time when Amazon was under intense scrutiny from the far right. The company announced on January 9 that it would cut ties with Parler, the “free-speech” social network that had become a haven for harassment and extremism and hosted many participants in the January 6 attack. “Sounds like war,” wrote one Parler member in a post spotted by Buzzfeed News editor John Paczkowski. “It would be a pity if someone with explosives training were to pay a visit to some AWS data centers – the locations of which are public knowledge.””

The perpetrator could not have read, or at least not listened to my advice here, if he wanted to cause the death of ordinary tech workers, since that is either terrorism, a morally insane act, or a ruthless form of warfare essentially different from nonviolent sabotage.

Even if you choose to follow the rules of the Just War doctrine in a real war against Big Tech it will only be clearly justified, from these premises, to attack the upper echelons and primary engineers of a military-related company like Amazon, presupposing that you have the skills and competence to do it in a responsible way.

Another reason I guess the perpetrator was not influenced by is that he used Signal to communicate. This goes against everything I have always clearly said about op sec: go offline! Have also many times warned people of the risk posed by undercover officers, but he walked right into that trap. If only he had read the articles I have published, or listened to others with tactical experience, he could have easily avoided this “rookie mistake”.

The perpetrator’s poor op sec, and his online boasting, shows that he lacked the proper skills and the right moral attitude to start a war.

The only reason I will not totally disavow him is that he was at least brave, unlike millions of others who don’t dare to fight Big Tech surveillance. But it’s precisely this kind of recklessness that I have clearly condemned here on

That part of me which is not primitive but ethically mature is relieved that FBI caught him in time.

If you can’t do war right, don’t do it, or else it will be as messed up as we saw in Iraq when leaders such as Paul Bremer were criminally negligent.

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