Conspiring With al-Qaeda – Intended Targets Included NJ Refinery
The FBI believes Michael Curtis Reynolds from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. tried to conspire with al-Qaeda to wreck the American economy. Reynolds plotted to blow up the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, a Pennsylvania pipeline, and a New Jersey refinery owned by Standard Oil Co. in Perth Amboy, N.J.
In the FBI sting two months ago, Reynolds was drawn to a meeting with a purported al-Qaeda operative about 25 miles from the hotel, where he expected to receive $40,000 to finance the alleged plot.
The al-Qaeda contact was actually Shannen Rossmiller, a 36-year-old judge who lives in Conrad, Mont. She was working for the FBI.
The sensational allegations, disclosed in a federal transcript obtained by The Inquirer on Friday, reveal a convoluted plot that includes cyberspace intrigue, an elaborate FBI sting, and a clandestine money-drop on a deserted Idaho road.
Authorities said Reynolds' letters, computer drawings and e-mails spelled out his plot to detonate trucks filled with propane along the Alaskan pipeline. This included "information on explosive devices, site plans and placement of explosive devices." He also allegedly planned to blow up sections of the Transcontinental Pipeline, a natural-gas pipeline that runs from the Gulf Coast, through Pennsylvania, to New Jersey and New York City.
"He was doing it as a plan to disrupt governmental function, to change the government's actions in foreign countries, and to impact on the national debate about the war," Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Gurganus Jr. said at the hearing in Wilkes-Barre.
Reynolds has been held without bail since Dec. 5 on unrelated weapons charges. A U.S. citizen, he is being detained in the Lackawanna County jail.