ADL : Pennsylvania Man Sentenced in Terror Plot to Aid Al Qaeda

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced in Terror Plot to Aid Al Qaeda

November 9, 2007

A man convicted of providing material support to Al Qaeda has been sentenced to 30 years in a federal prison and three years of supervised release.

Michael Curtis Reynolds, 49, was sentenced on November 6, 2007, by a federal district court in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Reynolds, from Wilkes-Barre, was convicted on four counts of attempted terrorist activity and one count of illegal possession of a hand-grenade.

He was arrested on the hand-grenade charge by the FBI in Iowa in December 2005 while trying to retrieve a bag filled with $40,000 that he believed was supplied by an Al Qaeda contact he met online. He was formally charged with terrorist offenses three months later.

Shannen Rossmiller, a Montana municipal court judge who helps FBI agents catch terrorists online, posed as Reynolds’ Al Qaeda contact. She began corresponding with Reynolds in 2005 about plans to target, among others, the Transcontinental Pipeline, which runs from the Gulf Coast to New York and New Jersey, and the Alaskan pipeline. During the trial, Reynolds claimed that he was trying to catch terrorists on the Internet to turn into the FBI, just like Rossmiller.

Prosecutors alleged Reynolds wanted to work with Al Qaeda to blow up U.S. pipelines in order to recall American troops in Iraq, who would need to return to help guard the nation’s energy infrastructure.

During the investigation, the FBI also tracked explosives to a storage locker in Wilkes-Barre.

In 1978, Reynolds was convicted of attempted arson after trying to blow up his parent’s house in Purdys, New York. He was given a conditional discharge after pleading guilty.