Feds Bust Mass. Man for Plotting to Attack U.S. Capitol and Pentagon

By Allan Lengel

The FBI on Wednesday busted a 26-year-old Massachusetts man in a sting in which he plotted to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol “using large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives,” according to the Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Authorities also charged Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen residing in Ashland, Mass,  with attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda to help carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

“Our top priority is to protect our nation from terrorism and national security threats. The conduct alleged today shows that Mr. Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country, including attacks on the Pentagon and our nation’s Capitol,” U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said in a statement.”Thanks to the diligence of the FBI and our many other law enforcement partners, that plan was thwarted.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office said the public was never in danger as the FBI, which conducted a sting, kept close tabs on the defendant and the explosives were controlled by undercover FBI employees.”

The FBI affidavit alleged that Ferdaus, a Northeastern University graduate with a degree in physics, began planning to commit a violent “jihad” against the U.S. in early 2010. He obtained mobile phones, each of which he modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED, authorities alleged.

He then supplied the phones to FBI undercover, who he believed to be members of, or recruiters for, al Qaeda. According to the affidavit, Ferdaus believed that the devices would be used to kill American soldiers overseas.

During a meeting June, authorities said he appeared gratified when he was told that his first phone detonation device had killed three U.S. soldiers and injured four or five others in Iraq.

“That was exactly what I wanted,” he responded.”

According to the affidavit, after each delivery, Ferdaus was anxious to know how well each of his detonation devices had worked and how many Americans they had killed.

In recorded conversations, beginning in January, Ferdaus stated that he planned to attack the Pentagon using aircraft similar to “small drone airplanes” filled with explosives and guided by GPS equipment, authorities said.

In April, his plan then included attacking the Capitol.


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