The Alleged Death Ray Klan Terrorist

As Yahoo reported, yesterday the trial for upstate New Yorker, Glendon Scott Crawford, started. Crawford is the rare white man charged with terrorist enhancement charges — including Conspiracy to Use a WMD.

Back in 2012, Crawford, who is a member of the Ku Klux Klan, decided he was going to invent a radiation emitting device that could kill targets from a distance. He approached two local Jewish groups promising he would build them a weapon that would kill Israel’s enemies for funding; some of those he approached reported him to authorities. Then he drove to North Carolina and offered up the weapon to a Klan leader, who cooperated with the FBI in its investigation. The FBI set up undercover employees and an informant in both places to coax him along in a weapon he wanted to use against President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, and some local Muslim organizations.

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He allegedly wanted to target Obama because the “treasonous bedwetting maggot in chief … directed the ins to start bringing muzzies here without background checks” where “they don’t have to follow any laws.”

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Crawford has argued — as many Muslims set up in elaborate FBI stings have before him — that nothing would have come of his conspiracy theories if the FBI hadn’t intervened.

Here, defendant Crawford had no financial resources with which to carry out the charged crime. Crawford did not have any money with which to fund this alleged scheme, and relied upon the money and debit cards provided by the government to purchase the parts necessary to assemble the remote initiation device. The defendant, identified on video as an acknowledged “conspiracy theorist”, worked as an industrial mechanic at General Electric.

He learned from the internet information that is taught in twelfth grade physics that a certain level of gamma rays directed at a source could cause radiation sickness. Defendant then contacted, among others, Congressman Gibson, area Jewish organizations and the Isreali embassy, with what he believed was a never-before considered idea – and idea only – to use on Islamic terrorists. Until his path crossed that of the government, he had never had a device or money or motivation to become involved in an actual device.

Even the complaint admits that Crawford and his alleged co-conspirator, Eric Feight, were queasy about actually using their death ray machine.

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Crawford’s attorney also claimed in opening arguments he just wanted to help the government defend against Islamic extremists.

But Crawford’s arguments will be undermined because Feight has already pled guilty (and presumably will testify at trial). And he and Feight have actual expertise: Crawford is an industrial mechanic and Feight is some kind of contract engineer — both worked for a GE facility in Schenectady. While it’s true that the informant did give Crawford money to pay for his mad scientist project, he’s nowhere near as poor as many of the young men whose purported bombs the FBI funded (he could have just sold his Harley to pay for his Death Ray Machine). Basically, he was looking for investors and the FBI happened to invest.

The judge in the case, Gary Sharpe, has ruled prosecutors will be able to show off Crawford’s Death Ray Machine, which Crawford was just demoing when he was arrested.

It will be interesting to see whether an entrapment argument works any better for a white guy claiming to want to target Muslims than it has for a long string of Muslims who’ve gotten caught in the same fashion.

Update: The jury found him guilty.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

8 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    Fascinating post. How about an opportunity to sit in on that trial? Would love to see the elements of the offenses charged, exactly what evidence is presented in support thereof, jury instructions, his demeanor, etc. (I suppose we could get transcripts after the fact.) Who knows, perhaps this really IS a person who should be thrown in the slammer, for being very dangerous. Would we (and the jury) be making a judgment call as to whether he crossed some line between blowhard and bad guy? Or does the legal setting preclude such an exercise of discretion?

  2. scribe says:

    Yet another dimwit giving dimwits everywhere a bad name.
    .
    Not wacky. Not funny. Just stupid and angry.

  3. Evangelista says:

    OMEGAd, a bottom-of-the-barrel level of “terrorist” if ever one was one.

    Any ALPHA “terrorist” could build a BETA than “death-ray” device than the defendant’s GAMMA one, even if he double-DELTA’s to align and concentrate to regiment a beam.

    OK, I’ll stop with the Greek alphabet, for the sakes of the frat and sor sets, who I might unwittingly draw under political investigation.

    Not that I have any sympathy for the Greek-Letter kids, of course, my concern is for the makers and deployers of tanning equipment, who shoot more radiation and do more radiation damage to the innocent idiots of America, whose safety and well-being the FBI, TSA, HLS and other like recipients of U.S. welfare imbursement define their responsibility to protect than all the crackpots the same said set can finance to demonstrate their values as “defenders” of the II of A.

    • orionATL says:

      now combine this with the recent fbi/police murder of a black muslim in boston and what do you get ?

  4. Rayne says:

    What worries me is that there are likely many more out there, homegrown terrorists without all the hoopla the mainstream media heaps on suspicious persons fitting a racist profile.

    This Crawford case reminded me in particular of the William Krar case — to this day we know very little about his plans. Crawford seems to have been caught because he was a little less cagey and the funder he tried to recruit was willing to expose him. Krar was discovered quite by accident; Crawford by a fortunate set of circumstances. Heaven help us when luck runs out.

    • orionATL says:

      thanks for the cite.

      krar’s is quite a story but, wow, there are a lot of other crackpots mentioned in this one article.

      …. in the woodwork.

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