Almost 60 Terrorist Plots Uncovered in the U.S. Since the Oklahoma City Bombing

Terror From the Right

A woman is badly injured after Eric Rudolph's bomb ripped through the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. (AP Wide World Photos)

1996

January 18, 1996
Peter Kevin Langan, the pseudonymous "Commander Pedro" who leads the underground Aryan Republican Army, is arrested after a shootout with the FBI in Ohio. Along with six other suspects arrested around the same time, Langan is charged in connection with a string of 22 bank robberies in seven Midwestern states between 1994 and 1996. After pleading guilty and agreeing to testify, conspirator Richard Guthrie commits suicide in his cell. Two others, Kevin McCarthy and Scott Stedeford, enter plea bargains and do testify against their co-conspirators. Eventually, Mark Thomas, a leading neo-Nazi in Pennsylvania, pleads guilty for his role in helping organize the robberies and agrees to testify against Langan and other gang members. Shawn Kenny, another suspect, becomes a federal informant. Langan is sentenced to a life term in one case, plus 55 years in another. Thomas is sentenced to eight years in prison, and is released in early 2004.


April 11, 1996
Antigovernment activist Ray Hamblin is charged with illegal possession of explosives after authorities find 460 pounds of the high explosive Tovex, 746 pounds of ANFO blasting agent and 15 homemade hand grenades on his property in Hood River, Ore. Hamblin is sentenced to almost four years in federal prison, and is released in March 2000.


April 12, 1996
Apparently inspired by his reading of a neo-Nazi tract, Larry Wayne Shoemake kills one black man and wounds seven other people, including a reporter, during a racist shooting spree in a black neighborhood in Jackson, Miss. As police close in on the abandoned restaurant he is shooting from, Shoemake, who is white, sets the restaurant on fire and kills himself. A search of his home finds references to "Separation or Annihilation," an essay on race relations by National Alliance leader William Pierce, along with an arsenal of weapons that includes 17 long guns, 20,000 rounds of ammunition, several knives and countless military manuals.


April 26, 1996
Two leaders of the Militia-at-Large of the Republic of Georgia, Robert Edward Starr III and William James McCranie Jr., are charged with manufacturing shrapnel bombs for distribution to militia members. Later in the year, they are sentenced on explosives charges to terms of up to eight years. Another Militia-at-Large member, accused of training a team to assassinate politicians, is later convicted of conspiracy. Starr is released from prison in 2003, while McCranie gets out in 2001. The last member, Troy Allen Kayser (alias Troy Spain), draws six years in prison and is released in early 2002.


July 1, 1996
Twelve members of an Arizona militia group called the Viper Team are arrested on federal conspiracy, weapons and explosive charges after allegedly surveilling and videotaping government buildings as potential targets. All 12 plead guilty or are convicted of various charges, drawing sentences of up to nine years in prison. The plot participants are all released in coming years, with Gary Curds Baer, who drew the heaviest sentence, freed in May 2004.


July 27, 1996
A nail-packed bomb goes off at the Atlanta Olympics, which is seen by many extremists as part of a Satanic "New World Order," killing one person and injuring more than 100 others. Investigators will later conclude the attack is linked to 1997-1998 bombings of an Atlanta-area abortion clinic, an Atlanta gay bar and a Birmingham, Ala., abortion facility. Suspect Eric Robert Rudolph — a reclusive North Carolina man tied to the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology — flees into the woods of his native state after he is identified in early 1998 as a suspect in the Birmingham attack, and is only captured five years later. Eventually, he pleads guilty to all of the attacks attributed to him in exchange for life without parole.


July 29, 1996
Washington State Militia leader John Pitner and seven others are arrested on weapons and explosives charges in connection with a plot to build pipe bombs for a confrontation with the federal government. Pitner and four others are convicted on weapons charges, while conspiracy charges against all eight end in a mistrial. Pitner is later retried on that charge, convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. He is freed from prison in 2001.


October 8, 1996
Three "Phineas Priests" — racist and anti-Semitic Christian Identity terrorists who feel they've been called by God to undertake violent attacks — are charged in connection with two bank robberies and bombings at the two banks, a Spokane newspaper and a Planned Parenthood office. Charles Barbee, Robert Berry and Jay Merrell are eventually convicted and sentenced to life terms. Brian Ratigan, a fourth member of the group arrested separately, draws a 55-year term.


October 11, 1996
Seven members of the Mountaineer Militia are arrested in a plot to blow up the FBI's national fingerprint records center, where 1,000 people work, in West Virginia. In 1998, leader Floyd "Ray" Looker is sentenced to 18 years in prison. Two other defendants are sentenced on explosives charges and a third draws a year in prison for providing blueprints of the FBI facility to Looker, who then sold them to a government informant who was posing as a terrorist.