A Virginia man who was present during the January riot at the U.S. Capitol pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to attack an Amazon data center in Texas, which he believed provided services to the federal government, federal authorities said.
Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, was arrested in Fort Worth in April when he tried to sell an explosive device from an undercover FBI agent on April 28. According to state court documents, in January he discussed his plan to attack an Amazon Web Services Data Center in Ashburn, Va. with a secret source on a encrypted messaging application.
In conversations with the source, Pendley said that he planned to overthrow the servers and that his goal was to attack the oligarchy in the United States, the authorities said. Amazon has reached out to FOX Business but has not heard back.
Due in large part to the meticulous work of the FBI undercover agents, the Justice Department was able to apprehend Mr. Pendley's twisted plot and expose the defendant before he was able to cause any actual harm, said the acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. We may never know how many tech jobs with that line have died because of this operation, and we’re grateful that we never had to find out.
In February, Pendley of Amazon emailed the source a list of data centers, saying he hoped a successful attack could kill around 70% of the Internet. When the source offered to get C 4 explosives for Pendley to use, he replied: F yes, said officials.
In March, the source introduced Pendley to someone claiming to be an explosives supplier. The person was actually an FBI employee. Pendley said during the meeting he painted his car in an effort to disguise it for the planned attack.
He said he planned to attack web servers that he believed provided the services to the CIA, FBI and other federal agencies.
The main objective is to f up the Amazon servers, he said during recorded conversations, the Justice Department said. There are 24 buildings that all of this data runs through in America. Three of them are right next to each other, and that 24 run 70 percent of the Internet. And the government, especially the higher ups, FBI and more classified -- these are like an 8 billion dollar a year contract with Amazon to run their servers.
He said that he hoped to convince the oligarchy enough to provoke a reaction that would convince the American people to take action against what he persecuted as being a dictatorship, authorities said.
In a conversation with the FBI agent, Pendley said he was present at the riot at Washington D.C. on Jan 6. He said he never went out on his own. He left an AR rifle with him to Washington, but brought it in his car.
He allegedly met with FBI agent on April 8 to pick up explosives. The devices were inert. After being shown how to detonate them and arm them, he loaded them into his car. He was arrested soon after.
A search of his Wichita Falls home turned up a sawed-off AR-15 receiver, a pistol painted to look like a toy gun, masks, wigs and notes and flashcards related to the planned attack.
He faces between five and to 20 years of prison and $250,000 in fines when sentenced on Oct. 1.