A former U.S. service member was arrested in Hawaii after he sent emails from Thailand that threatened to kill Vice President Joe Biden, authorities said Monday.
The U.S. Secret Service arrested Justin Alan Woodward when he arrived at Honolulu International Airport Friday via a Delta Airlines flight from Bangkok, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Honolulu. He has been jailed awaiting a detention hearing Wednesday.
Woodward admitted to agents that he wrote the threatening messages, including one sent to the White House website June 22 that read, “Biden … you tried to get me to kill Obama in my home town of El Dorado Kansas. I will kill you myself,” the expletive-filled complaint said. The same email, with the sender self-identified as “Justin Alan Woodward PhD,” mentions 9/11 and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. It also accuses the vice president of trying to have Woodward assassinated and put under “mind control.”
Another email sent June 26 said, “So Obama, when are we going to get together and smoke some Marijuana … I like the way you work. I am really glad I didn’t blow your head off back there like I was supposed to.”
The Royal Thai Police traced the email’s IP address to a public Wi-Fi access point in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
In an interview with a U.S. Consulate official in Thailand, Woodward said he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002 and served as an infantryman until he was medically discharged for bi-polar disorder two years later. He said he served six months in Iraq and has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Woodward told a Secret Service agent Aug. 2 that he had been activated to assassinate President Barack Obama when the president was visiting Oklahoma. He also said he wanted to go to Hawaii because the continental U.S. was full of “enemy agents,” according to the complaint. He said he moved overseas because he cannot be trusted around the president or vice president.
Woodward’s status after his interviews in Thailand until his flight to Hawaii was unclear.