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Feds seek to shield evidence in Wichita suicide bomb case

  • Associated Press
  • Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, at 9:02 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, at 8:13 a.m.

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Prosecutors asked a federal court Thursday to limit who can see information that has been declassified for the purpose of prosecuting an avionics technician accused of plotting a suicide bombing at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport.

The request for a protective order in the case of Terry L. Loewen seeks to keep secret the identities of the undercover agents for their own safety. It also seeks to limit dissemination of “sensitive sources and methods” so as to ensure the government’s ability to use these investigative measures in future national security cases.

Loewen, 58, was arrested Dec. 13 after a month-long undercover sting when he attempted to drive a van carrying what he believed was a bomb onto the tarmac at Mid-Continent. He is charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted use of an explosive device to damage property, and attempted material support to the terrorist group al-Qaida.

Prosecutors want to limit dissemination of materials to witnesses to keep the defense from providing copies to the media.

The court filing provides a public glimpse into the extent of some of the evidence already provided to the defense team, including the statement Loewen gave to the FBI following his arrest that encompasses five DVDs. Prosecutors wrote they’ve disclosed a substantial amount of general evidence including 948 pages of reports, 636 photographs and five spreadsheets.

Prosecutors said they have not yet disclosed to the defense what it calls “sensitive discovery material” because declassification is an ongoing process that is both labor intensive and time-consuming. The government said it believed the court must enter a protective order before any of that material is turned over to the defense.

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