Florida Man Charged With Planning to Explode 9/11 Memorial

9/11 memorial
A September 11 memorial was targeted for attack in Kansas City, Missouri. Above, visitors cast shadows as they visit the Flight 93 National Memorial, which officially opened yesterday in Shanksville, Pennsylvania September 11. Mark Makela/Reuters

A 20-year-old Florida man made plans to destroy a September 11 memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Middle District of Florida.

Joshua Ryne Goldberg allegedly planned to have an accomplice carry out his plan on September 13, using a bomb.

He is charged with illegal distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction. On social media, Goldberg posed as an extremist based in Perth, Australia who planned to carry out attacks in that nation. An FBI official who was posing as a fellow jihadist spoke online with Goldberg regularly. Authorities were able to trace Goldberg’s IP address to his mother’s house in Florida.  

“Have you decided what kind of attack to carry on 9/11, akhi? I was thinking a bombing. We could make pipe bombs and detonate them at a large public event,” Goldberg wrote, according to the criminal complaint. Using the pseudonym AusWitness, Goldberg provided instructions on how to make a pressure cooker bomb and selected the Kansas City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb as the location for the attack. Rather than carry out the attack himself, Goldberg convinced the informant to bomb the memorial, the complaint says.

In messages to the informant, Goldberg advised him to purchase the bomb-making materials separately so as not to alert authorities to his plans. “When you go [to the memorial] to place the bomb, make sure the bomb is VERY well hidden.... Put the backpack near the crowd,” Goldberg wrote, according to the complaint.

In order to cause the most damage possible, Goldberg suggested filling the bomb with nails, glass and metal. “If you can, dip the screws and other shrapnel in rat poison before putting them in. that way, the kuffar who get hit by them will be more likely to die,” he wrote, the complaint says.

A search warrant was issued for Goldberg’s home on September 9 and it was then that he was detained. In conversations with authorities, Goldberg allegedly admitted to providing instructions on how to make a bomb and planning the Kansas City attack. “Goldberg stated he believed that the individual did intend to create functioning bombs and would actually attempt to use them to kill and injure persons,” the complaint reads.

Goldberg claims he planned to tell law enforcement about the bombing plan in advance so he would “receive credit for stopping the attack.”