New York man planned to detonate 200-pound suicide bomb on election day

Paul Rosenfeld
He planned to blow himself up to draw attention to an ideology.
New York – Paul M. Rosenfeld planned to detonate 200-pound suicide bomb at  the National Mall on Election Day to attract support for “Sortition”

 “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,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

“Rosenfeld’s alleged plan for an Election Day detonation cut against our democratic principles.  Thanks to outstanding coordination between local and federal law enforcement, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot was thwarted and he is now in federal custody.”

But no terrorism related charges are laid – potentially because he says he wanted to kill himself in furtherance of his ideology which suggests politicians can be selected randomly to fill government positions.

Assistant Director-in-Charge of FBI, William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction.

“Fortunately, his plans were thwarted by the quick action of a concerned citizen and the diligent work of a host of our law enforcement partners and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.”

  • In August and September 2018, Rosenfeld sent letters and text messages to an individual in Pennsylvania.  These letters and text messages stated that ROSENFELD planned to build an explosive device and detonate it on November 6, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  Roseneld’s stated reason for these acts was to draw attention to his political belief in “sortition,” a political theory that advocates the random selection of government officials.
  • On October 9, 2018, law enforcement agent stopped a car driven by Rosenfeld.  The suspect agreed to answer questions and, in an interview with law enforcement, stated that he ordered large quantities of black powder—an explosive substance—over the Internet, which he transported from a location in New Jersey to his home in Tappan, New York..
  • He stated, among other things, that he used approximately eight pounds of black powder to construct a large explosive device in the basement of the Residence, and that he installed certain components in the explosive device to ensure that he was killed in the blast.
  • He reported that he had previously constructed smaller explosive devices and had conducted test detonations.  He also indicated that he planned to detonate the larger explosive device on November 6, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in order to draw attention to sortition.

On October 9, 2018, law enforcement agents conducted a search of the Residence.

In the basement, law enforcement agents found what appeared to be a functional explosive device weighing approximately 200 pounds.

FBI bomb technicians removed the Explosive Device from the basement of the Residence and transported it to a safe location.  Within the Residence, law enforcement agents also found, among other things, a fusing system for triggering explosive devices and what appeared to be empty canisters of black powder.

Rosenfeld, 56, of Tappan, New York, has been charged with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. .