A former employee of Britain’s cyber spy agency who was outraged by the work the agency did was sentenced Monday to life in prison for attempted murder in connection with the stabbing of a US intelligence worker stationed in the United Kingdom.
Joshua Bowles, 29, punched the woman and stabbed her several times in what he described as a “politically motivated” attack as the victim left the gym on March 9 in the town of Cheltenham, where he was based, United’s electronic office and spy agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
“I was just trying to kill him,” Bowles said, according to Steve Bunn, who helped stop the attack. “It’s a good thing he didn’t have a gun, right? “I’m a good terrorist, aren’t I?”
Bowles will spend at least 13 years in prison before he has the chance for early release.
The woman, identified in court only by the code number 99230, works for the National Security Agency (NSA), which monitors electronic communications for the United States and sends some of its employees to offices in Cheltenham.
Prosecutor Duncan Penny said the attack was planned and that the woman was targeted only because of her work at the NSA.
“US intelligence represents the largest contributor within the intelligence community, so it became a symbolic target,” Bowles told police after being detained. “I consider GCHQ to be equally guilty.”
Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb of London’s Central Criminal Court called the incident a “politically motivated attack” driven by “anger and rage” towards GCHQ and the women. The judge noted that Bowles, a software code developer, showed “deep dissatisfaction with society and a desire to challenge authority.”
Bowles’ internet searches include white supremacy, Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, and assaults on women.