Two men accused of bizarre radiation plot

The Lookout

Radiation sign on grey wall (photo: Thinkstock)

Two men from upstate New York have been accused of trying to make and sell a portable X-ray weapon that they "intended to sell to Jewish groups or a southern branch of the Ku Klux Klan," and which could be fired at people perceived to be enemies of Israel, the Times Union reports.

Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, and Eric J. Feight, 54, have been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, according to the paper. The two men could face 15 years in prison and $250,000 fines.

A press release from the Department of Justice explains investigators said that Crawford reached out to Jewish organizations (at least one of which reported his strange behavior to the police) for assistance with the technology involved in making the X-ray weapon. The remotely controlled X-ray weapon they designed would supposedly have been able to deliver lethal doses of radiation to unsuspecting victims.

The weapon was never operable, according to reports.

"This case demonstrates how we must remain vigilant to detect and stop potential terrorists, who so often harbor hatred toward people they deem undesirable," U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said in a statement.

According to the Department of Justice, "This was an undercover investigation and, unbeknownst to the defendants, the device that the defendants designed and intended to use was rendered inoperable at all times and posed no danger to the public." The men are accused of trying to sell the weapon to Jewish groups and the Ku Klux Klan.

Crawford works as an industrial mechanic with General Electric and is allegedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan. In a statement to the Times Union, GE said Crawford has been suspended and that the company is "cooperating fully with the authorities on their investigation."

The Times Union reports that Crawford recruited Feight to help with the device's construction.

Via the Times Union:

FBI agents were able to get a "confidential human source" and an undercover agent close to Crawford in May 2012, recording their conversations and meetings. In December, the FBI obtained a search warrant that enabled them to monitor Crawford's and Feight's cell phone calls, emails and text messages.

Under the plot described by the FBI, Crawford concentrated on building the radiation device while Feight was building the electronic controls. The two men met May 20 in Albany and Feight gave a remote-transmission device to Crawford. They had planned a test to take place at an undisclosed hotel in the Albany area.

In interviews with the Times Union, neighbors of Crawford described the accused terrorist as a cordial family man.