A former British intelligence officer was jailed for 13 years after attempting to kill a United States National Security Agency (NSA) employee in a “premeditated, targeted and vicious attack”.
Joshua Bowles, 29, repeatedly stabbed the unnamed woman, who was working at British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), in March near its base at Cheltenham, England.
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Bowles, who had previously worked at GCHQ, was no longer working there when he carried out the attack.
Following his arrest, Bowles told the police, “The target was selected for employment at the NSA.”
“Due to the size and resourcing, American intelligence represents the largest contributor within the intelligence community, so made sense as the symbolic target. I consider GCHQ just as guilty.”
Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb said on Monday that Bowles had carried out a “politically motivated attack” that was driven by “anger and resentment” towards GCHQ and women.
She recommended he serve at least 13 years in prison before being considered for release.
In August, Bowles pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of the woman known only as 99230. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting a man who tried to stop the attack.
The woman sustained cuts to her abdomen, chest and thigh.
He had researched the attack online beforehand, including studying the American “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, who mounted an anonymous bombing campaign from 1978 to 1995.
Bowles also looked up attacks on women and white supremacy.
In one of his police interviews, Bowles said: “The system is rigged. I believe the intelligence community helps ensure this rigging, this view has been reinforced by my time working at GCHQ.”
Prosecutor Duncan Penny told London’s Old Bailey on Friday that Bowles launched the attack outside of a leisure centre in Cheltenham after researching two other US nationals who worked for the NSA at GCHQ.
Penny said Bowles’s motivations “demonstrate that his use of serious violence against 99230 was designed to influence the UK government, by inference, not to work with or not to work as closely with the US National Security Agency and/or was designed to intimidate those working at GCHQ”.
Penny also said Bowles described himself as a “terrorist” after the attack, saying to one witness: “I make a pretty s*** terrorist, don’t I?”
Bowles’s lawyer, Tim Forte, argued that he attacked as a result of his social isolation and depression combined with his grievance against GCHQ.