WICHITA, Kansas — A federal judge urged government lawyers Monday to review what he called substantial blacked-out material given to defense attorneys for the man accused of plotting a suicide bombing at the Wichita airport.
U.S. District Judge Monti Belot told attorneys at a brief public hearing that he wants to move along as rapidly as possible the case of Terry Loewen, an avionics technician jailed on terrorism-related charges. Belot noted Loewen has been jailed for "a long time," a statement that drew a smile from the defendant.
Loewen was arrested Dec. 13 after allegedly trying to bring inert explosives onto the tarmac at the airport, where he worked. He has pleaded not guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to use an explosive device to damage property and attempting to give material support to al-Qaida.
The judge gave prosecutors 30 days to respond to a defense letter outlining evidence it contends should be disclosed. Details of the nature of the evidence were not discussed.
Loewen had been under investigation for about six months after making online statements about wanting to commit "violent jihad" against the United States. An undercover FBI agent befriended Loewen, striking up conversations about terrorism and Loewen's admiration for those who plotted against American interests.
Authorities said Loewen spent months studying the layout of the airport, its flight patterns and other details to maximize fatalities and damage in an attack. During that time, he developed a plan with other conspirators — actually undercover FBI agents — to use his employee access card to pull off the attack.
Loewen planned to die in the explosion, a fate that he said was inevitable in his quest to become a martyr in a jihad against America, according to court documents.