In the most extensive domestic terrorism investigation since the Oklahoma City bombing, an east Texas man pleaded guilty last month to possession of a weapon of mass destruction. The Christian Science Monitor reports that inside the home and storage facilities of William Krar, investigators found a sodium-cyanide bomb capable of killing thousands, more than a hundred explosives, half a million rounds of ammunition, dozens of illegal weapons, and white-supremacist and antigovernment literature. “Without question, it ranks at the very top of all domestic terrorist arrests in the past 20 years in terms of the lethality of the arsenal,” says Daniel Levitas, author of “The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right.”
Outside Tyler, Texas, the case is almost unknown. There have been a handful of local news stories, but no coverage in the national newspapers.
Experts say the case highlights the increased cooperation and quicker response by law enforcement agencies since Sept. 11, 2001. It may also point up just how political the terror war is. “There is no value for the Bush administration to highlighting domestic terrorism right now,” says Robert Jensen, a journalism professor at the University of Texas in Austin. “But there are significant political benefits to highlighting foreign terrorists, especially when trying to whip up support for war.”
Levitas goes further: “The government has a severe case of tunnel vision when it comes to domestic terrorism. I have no doubt whatsoever that had Krar and his compatriots been Arab-Americans or linked to some violent Islamic fundamentalist group, we would have heard from John Ashcroft himself.”
The case began last year when a package bound for New Jersey was misdelivered to a New York address. The family inadvertently opened it and found fake identification badges, including Department of Defense and United Nations IDs. The FBI tracked the package back to Krar in Noonday, Texas. The cache of weapons and bombs was found when the FBI served a search warrant in April.
Investigators have been unable to answer questions such as: Where was the sodium-cyanide bomb destined? And were the weapons being prepared for a group or sold individually?