MIAMI BEACH -- A man arrested on suspicion of plotting to bomb clinics that provide abortions came "perilously close to carrying out his plans," the FBI said yesterday.
Stephen John Jordi, 35, was in the final stages of planning the attacks, US Attorney Marcos Jimenez said. A criminal complaint said Jordi cased several South Florida clinics and discussed bombing one in Macon, Ga.
On Tuesday, Jordi and an FBI source bought gasoline cans, flares, starter fluid, and propane tanks, including a large one filled with gas, the affidavit said. The source also gave Jordi a .45-caliber pistol, silencer, and empty magazines in exchange for $200, the affidavit says. Jordi was arrested later that day.
The affidavit said Jordi had discussed with an FBI source possibly using C-4 plastic explosives, propane tank bombs, or pipe bombs, and had studied bombing methods throughout the fall.
Beverly Esselbach, FBI spokeswoman, said Jordi was arrested after agents arranged a meeting aboard a boat. He jumped overboard and was pulled from the ocean by the Coast Guard a half-hour later.
Jordi was charged with solicitation to commit a crime of violence, distribution of information relating to making and using explosives for arson, and possession of an unregistered firearm.
He admired Paul Hill, who was executed Sept. 3 for killing a doctor who performed abortions and his bodyguard outside a Pensacola clinic in 1994, Assistant US Attorney John Schlesinger said. According to the affidavit, Jordi showed the FBI source a letter in which Hill thanked Jordi for his moral and financial support.
The affidavit also says Jordi, a former Army Ranger, hoped to be "on the run" like Eric Rudolph, who is charged in bombings at three abortion clinics and at the Olympics in Atlanta. The affidavit said Jordi told an FBI source he expected to be hunted by authorities: "As long as I keep hitting places . . . they'll keep after me . . . but like trying to catch a cockroach in a house . . . they won't get me."
Jimenez said the affidavit "makes clear that this is a dangerous person that has now been taken off the streets."