FBI catches mail bomber in dark web covert operation

Clinton Scott Bass, of Georgia, pleaded guilty in April to charges of purchasing explosives on a dark web marketplace to kill or harm a human target, according to documentation dug up by Forbes. His plan would have worked out, if the bomb supplier weren’t actually an undercover FBI agent.

Because of its anonymity, the dark web is a haven for illegal activities such as drug dealing, child exploitation and even arms trafficking. The marketplaces on the dark web also have for sale explosives, a variety of chemicals and biological toxins such as arsenic. Using different Network Investigative Techniques, undercover FBI agents keep a close eye on dark web activities.

In this case, Bass negotiated the payment and delivery of a bomb with an Online Covert Employee. To contact the supplier, the man used two nicknames to hide his identity and Guerilla Mail, as it doesn’t require a password. Initially, his request was for a car bomb that would go off when a door was opened or closed. Bass then changed his mind on August 4, 2016 and asked for a mail bomb that would detonate when opened.

Bass was very convincing about his desire to go through with the plan and said he “would definitely buy the product.” The target was “just a rat criminal,” […] “whose identity is known to the United States.”

Once the man paid $550 in virtual currency, the deal was on and the package with a location tracker was delivered to the given address. After he picked up the bomb, the cops found his home. He was arrested the day after he delivered the bomb to the victim in Hahira, Georgia.

The US government send a phishing email to his address to receive on an FBI server information normally hidden by the Tor connection and used a Pen-trap tool to “record, decode, and/or capture dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information transmitted by the NIT authorized by the search warrant obtained in this case on April 4, 2017, including the date, time, and duration of the communication.”

The FBI detected 19 IP addresses, according to the warrant.

Bass is waiting for his trial in July.

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