A Kansas man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for plotting an attack at an airport in the state’s largest city of Wichita. Terry Lee Loewen wanted to cause "maximum carnage" at the airport just before 2013 Christmas, prosecutors said.
Loewen, who pleaded guilty in June, was handed down the sentence following a plea deal. Prosecutors argued that the sentence was much lower than other cases related to national security, the Associated Press reported. However, the government said that given Loewen's age and health conditions, the sentence was appropriate. The 60-year-old will reportedly be subject to supervision for life once he completes his prison sentence.
Loewen was arrested in December 2013 after months of planning the attack. At the time, he worked as an avionics technician at Hawker Beechcraft's facility at Mid-Continent Airport -- now called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport -- and had an employee access card, which he conspired to use for the attack.
Loewen first caught the FBI’s attention in late May 2013, when he became a Facebook friend of a person who posted information supporting violent jihad, or holy war, the intelligence agency said in a press release. An undercover FBI agent contacted Loewen and offered to introduce him to someone who could help him get involved in jihad.
In October 2013, Loewen met a second undercover FBI agent, who helped him place a fake improvised explosive device. Following the incident, the authorities arrested Loewen, who confessed that he had inspected the airport to decide the time and place of the attack.
"Terry Loewen abused his privileged airport access to attempt to perpetrate a terrorist attack in Wichita," the FBI said in the statement. “The National Security Division's highest priority is protecting the United States against terrorist threats -- both international and domestic.”