We posted in January about the discovery of a bomb planted along the route of a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Washington.
Now The Spokane Spokesman-Review reports:
An ex-soldier with ties to the white supremacist movement has been taken into custody in connection with the planting of a backpack bomb along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march in downtown Spokane, authorities have confirmed.
Kevin William Harpham, 36, of Colville, could face life imprisonment on charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device, according to documents on file in U.S. District Court….
Harpham was arrested this morning during a raid at his home at 1088 Cannon Way near Addy, Wash., by dozens of federal agents who had been assembling in Spokane during the past few days.
The Southern Poverty Law Center confirmed that Harpham in 2004 was a member of the National Alliance, which is one of the most visible white supremacist organizations in the nation. It was founded by the late William Pierce, who authored “The Turner Diaries,” a novel about a future race war. That book was believed to be the blueprint behind the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh.
“What to me this arrest suggests is that the Martin Luther King Day attack is what it always looked like: A terror-mass murder attempt directed at black people and their sympathizers,” said Mark Potok, who is the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project that tracks and investigates hate groups.
Sources said the bomb could have inflicted multiple casualties and was placed in a way to maximize the blast toward marchers in the street.
Other sources then revealed that it appeared the bomb maker used rat poison, with the potential intent of causing victims to continue to bleed once struck with shrapnel.
As the investigation progressed, much attention was focused on the region’s past bombings, all of which were carried out by either members of the Aryan Nations or other white supremacists.
The most recent came in 1996, when three bombs linked to racists caused severe damage to a Planned Parenthood building, Spokane City Hall and the Spokane Valley office of The Spokesman-Review.
All of which suggests that Congressional hearings which focus exclusively on Muslim extremism and terrorism perhaps should be expanded in scope.
Update: More evidence in favor of expanding the scope of the hearings.
Further update: Talking Points Memo reports:
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) was moved to tears today at Peter King’s hearings on radicalization in the American Muslim community, when telling the story a Muslim first responder who lost his life on September 11th, 2001.
Ellison, who is Muslim, has been opposed to the hearings’ focus on Muslims, and told TPM in December that it’s “legitimate” to have broad hearings on radicalization, but “just a bash session about ‘Muslims are the problem’ is not helpful.”