Michael Curtis Reynolds says he’s a patriot. Federal authorities say he’s a terrorist. The FBI believes that the unemployed Wilkes-Barre man tried to conspire with Al Qaeda to wreck the American economy, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Agents say Reynolds plotted to blow up the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, a Pennsylvania pipeline, and a New Jersey refinery. The sensational allegations, disclosed in a federal transcript obtained by The Inquirer on Friday, reveal a convoluted plot that includes cyberspace intrigue, an elaborate FBI sting, and a clandestine money-drop on a deserted Idaho road.
Reynolds, 47, has not been publicly charged with terrorism. A federal prosecutor leveled that accusation in a December court hearing, saying that Reynolds attempted to “provide material aid to Al Qaeda” and that the case “involves a federal offense of terrorism.” Reynolds has been held without bail since Dec. 5 on unrelated weapons charges. Described by his ex-father-in-law as a “John Wayne wanna-be,” Reynolds has a string of bad debts and criminal convictions – including one for attempted arson. His last known address was Room 205 at the Thunderbird Hotel in Pocatello, Id. In the FBI sting two months ago, he was drawn to a meeting with a purported Al Qaeda operative about 25 miles from the hotel, where he expected to receive $40,000 to finance the alleged plot.