Yet another Great Patriot has gotten himself arrested in an attempt to blow up a building and start the next revolution, to bring down the corrupt federal government and free America from the tyranny of America’s government, which isn’t legitimate, not one bit. Jerry Drake Varnell was arrested in the wee hours of Saturday morning after what he thought was a thousand-pound bomb in a stolen van failed to blow up. While the FBI relied on a criminal informant and an undercover agent to “help” Varnell along in his anti-government mission, it seems clear from the FBI’s criminal complaint (which is damn good reading!) that Varnell saw himself as the idea man — the CI and the undercover guy don’t appear to have been up to any entrapment schemes here. (You know, unless you’re Alex Jones and you know the Government lies about everything.)
Varnell floated the idea of blowing up a five-story Federal Reserve bank in Washington DC, because OF COURSE Federal Reserve. It’s just evil. He fantasized to the informant about doing a bigger bomb than Tim McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bomb, which was only about 600 pounds of explosives, and thought he might go after some big data centers, to either bring down credit card companies or maybe take Facebook offline. He wanted to send a message to the Feds and blow up something that would “somehow cripple the government. Something that sends a message that says, ‘You are a target.'”
Over an encrypted text — his idea — Varnell shared with the informant his desire to fight back against the federal government, but he was having trouble getting a “team” of like-minded militiamen together. In an early message in April of this year, Varnell said, “I’m out for blood,” but a couple weeks later he complained that the people he hoped to recruit “were too complacent and didn’t have ‘balls’,” according to the complaint. Isn’t that always how it goes when you try to get a good anti-government rebellion going?
Varnell, who lived with his parents on a farm in Sayre, Oklahoma, where he had his very own bunker for when the government collapses, saw himself as a pretty cool freedom fighter, according to the criminal complaint:
Yep, a real honest Three Percenter dumbfuck with a bunker and delusions from movies.
The undercover agent, who was known to Varnell as “The Professor” — clearly, all you had to do to get this guy to play along was to make him feel like he was living out a big crappy Turner Diaries type adventure — was brought into the scheme as someone the criminal informant knew who could help with the technical stuff. Varnell eventually decided he’d hit a local target, in part because he’s “a broke fuck” who couldn’t afford to live out his dream of hitting multiple federal buildings in a single day. He targeted a BancFirst location in Oklahoma City, presumably because their website says they’re “state-chartered,” and that has to be something like the Federal Reserve, huh?
Varnell, the informant (“CHS-1”), and the undercover employee (UCE) cased the joint on July 13:
He also explained to the informant how he wanted to get his message out to the world: with a message on Facebook, from some untraceable fake account. Good thing he didn’t blow up a Facebook server farm, huh?
“The Professor” took special care to tell Varnell that he was running the show, and that if he wanted to drop the plan, there’d be no hard feelings, because after all, blowing up a building is a big damn deal. Varnell did at least show a little bit of concern for not killing too many people, possibly because he had a trace of worry about the morality of it, or maybe because he knew that his hero, Tim McVeigh, got a lot of bad press for blowing up a daycare center. So he decided to blow up the bank at night, after business hours, and if some cleaning staff died, that was an acceptable loss, he guessed:
Varnell and “The Professor” got together last Friday to build what Varnell was sure was a fertilizer and diesel fuel bomb, with detonation cord, dynamite, blasting caps, and a cell-phone trigger; all of the components were fake, of course. He drove the van to the bank a bit past midnight Saturday morning, parked it in an alley next to the bank, and drove several miles away with “The Professor” to set off the bomb — he took the phone and dialed the number that was supposed to trigger the bomb, at least three times. There was no earth-shattering KABOOM, and FBI agents swarmed in to arrest him.
Guess that little revolution didn’t go very well. Here’s the weirdest thing we found on Varnell’s Facebook page: In June 2015, after the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality, he used a Facebook toy to post a Pride Flag profile pic.
Apart from photos, the content of the Facebook page was friends-only, so there’s no telling what changed between 2015 and last winter, when he first started talking to the informant, that would have made him go toward wingnut radicalism.
Maybe it was economic anxiety.
Honestly, go read the Criminal Complaint. Make a hell of a screenplay for the Coen Brothers. Also, this is Yr OPEN THREAD.
Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click the “Donate” clicky — we promise nothing will explode except our love for you, the reader.