Wichita Mid-Continent Airport is a big name for a modest airport, and Al Qaeda in Kansas sounds too much like the title of a Philip Glass opera for the very serious situation that almost took place in that modest airport.
Save for the fine investigative work of an undercover FBI agent, working on-line to track the plans and deeds of Terry Loewen, 58, a United States citizen, Al Qaida supporter and Kansas-grown terrorist, there would have been mass murder, devastation and extensive loss of life.
The facts are fairly straightforward, yet hide a wealth of second tier information that will fill files, notebooks, legal pads and court transcripts as the case soon winds its way through federal court.
Federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Barry Grisssom, stated on Friday, December 13, 2013, that Terry Loewen, a former aviation mechanic at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport “spent months developing a plan to use his access card to the airport to drive explosive devices into the terminal.” Loewen’s intent and purpose was to kill as many passengers as he could in support of Al Qaeda.
Loewen, a self-professed supporter of Al Qaeda and student of jihad and martyrdom, thought it would be a good and noble act to kill as many people as possible, including himself, to lend his support to terrorists.
The 58-year-old even stated that he wanted to die in the explosion as a martyr for Allah in the cause of Al Qaeda.
For months, with plans, drawings, photos and other items, Loewen meticulously studied the airport’s layout. He took photos of access points and even studied the arrival and departure times of planes in order to determine the optimum time for killing the greatest number of passengers.
An FBI agent, working undercover as a like-minded on-line terrorist, discovered Loewen’s plans soon after they made a connection on the net. The relationship between the Kansas terrorist and the undercover agent took place in a series of several emails. Loewen was forthcoming in his revelations and statements of intent. He detailed the scope and the particulars of what he planned to do. According to the undercover FBI agent, Loewen’s plans were detailed and exhaustive. There was no question that this Al Qaeda supporter was serious and determined to kill as many people as possible at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, Wichita, Kansas.
In one email Loewen stated: “I’m 58 years old and spending the remaining years behind bars for a good reason is not out of the question for me.”
Loewen also stated in an email from early August: “Brothers like Osama bin Laden and Anwar al Awlakle are a great inspiration to me, but I must be willing to give up everything (like they did) to truly feel like an obedient slave of Allah (swt).”
The quotes are interesting for at least two points: First, Loewen seems so oppressively sincere in his mission as to shift the focus, however slightly, from what he actually intended to do. Loewen also speaks of “a good reason,” somehow convincing himself that mass murder qualifies. Al Qaeda in Kansas was no joke. The middle-aged would-be martyr was all too serious about carrying out his plan, no matter how heinous for the innocent who would have suffered.
Second, Loewen refers to being Allah’s slave – a slave of Allah. Please note that any man-god relationship that uses the word slave or slavery as descriptive of the relationship is a red flag for trouble. Such debasement is less about humility and more about the ostensible succumbing to a greater power who can have his, her, or its way with its slave. In this way the actor seeks to relieve himself of normal responsibilities or the restraints on behavior common to civilized societies (e.g., such as obeying the law that says one’s not supposed to commit mass murder). This kind of “slavery” or “master-slave” relationship is a shell game, often unknown to the less than self-ware subject, that frees him to commit the most wrongful acts in his own good conscience.
It’s the flip side of the “devil made me do it.” In the case of Terry Loewen, it was Allah who was making him do it.
Federal prosecutors charged Loewen with one count each of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property, and attempting to provide support to a terrorist group, Al Qaeda.
Loewen’s musings on a life in prison for a good purpose were half prophetic and half wrong. In all likelihood he’ll get the life sentence he anticipated. The misguided, mistaken, Al Qaeda supporter and former aviation mechanic at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in Kansas will sit out his remaining years behind bars, but it won’t be for a good reason.
By: Michael Hogan