The FBI foils a plot by white supremacists to firebomb a Spokane synagogue and assassinate civil rights leaders on February 1, 1992.

  • By Jim Kershner
  • Posted 7/04/2008
  • Essay 8644

On February 1, 1992, a group of skinheads and white supremacists with ties to the Aryan Nations discuss a plan to firebomb the Temple Beth Shalom in Spokane and carry out assassinations. An FBI informant is part of the group and before the plot can be carried out,  two of the members are deported.

Chilling Plot

The Aryan Nations, headed by white supremacist Richard Butler, had been well-established in nearby Hayden Lake, Idaho, since the 1980s. A splinter group, which felt that Butler was only a propagandist, met secretly to discuss setting fire to the Temple Beth Shalom and killing area civil rights activists Marshall Mend and Bill Wassmuth.

The informant leaked word of the plot months before it was scheduled to be carried out. Immigration officials scuttled the plot by deporting two of the skinheads to Italy and Canada.

Leaders of Temple Beth Shalom called the plot "chilling," and said they were "well aware of who our neighbors are," meaning the neo-Nazi groups in North Idaho (Morlin).

As a result of this and other threats, Temple Beth Shalom instituted strict security measures.


Sources: Bill Morlin, "Ex-Aryan Discloses Death Plot," The Spokesman-Review, February 16, 1992.

Related Topics:   Crime | Jews in Washington

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