A man from Texas could be facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to plotting to blow up a data center in Virginia.
Seth Aaron Pendley, of Wichita Falls, was arrested in April after trying to purchase what he believed to be an explosive device from an undercover FBI employee in Fort Worth.
The 28-year-old admitted that he had planned to use the device to destroy servers in an Amazon-owned data center located on Smith Switch Road in Ashburn, Virginia.
According to his plea documents, Pendley shared the details of his plot with a source via an encrypted messaging app last February.
When the source offered to help the would-be bomber obtain C4 plastic explosives, Pendley responded with the message: “F*** yeah.”
Pendley sent the source a list of data center addresses and said he hoped a successful attack would “kill off 70% of the internet.”
Pendley then showed the source a hand-drawn map of a data center in Ashburn that included details of how he intended to enter and exit the site. The source also heard how Pendley planned to disguise his car to escape detection by law enforcement.
In March, the source introduced the unsuspecting Pendley to an undercover FBI employee posing as an explosives supplier. Pendley was recorded telling that FBI employee that he wanted to blow up Amazon web servers.
Pendley said he thought that the servers in the data center benefited the FBI, CIA and other federal agencies. By destroying the servers, Pendley hoped to prevent the United States from being taken over by a tyrannical Marxist government.
On April 8, Pendley was arrested after meeting with the FBI employee to collect inert devices that Pendley believed to be real explosives. At his residence, cops found an AR-15 receiver with a sawed-off barrel, a pistol painted to look like a toy gun, masks, wigs, and notes and flashcards related to the planned attack.
On June 9, Pendley pleaded guilty to a malicious attempt to destroy a building with an explosive. He is due to be sentenced on October 1.
Federal authorities said Pendley was apolitical until he lost his job and began researching politics on the internet.