FBI foils plot to attack Pentagon with toy plane packed with explosives
Authorities arrested a Massachusetts man on Wednesday with plotting to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol by using remote-controlled aircraft filled with C-4 explosives.
Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, a U.S. citizen, was also charged with attempting to provide support and resources to al Qaeda in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas, U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said.
He was caught as a result of an undercover operation.
He was arrested in Framingham after undercover federal agents delivered materials he’d allegedly requested for his plan, including grenades, six machine guns and what he believed was 24 pounds of C-4 explosive.
According to a federal affidavit, Ferdaus said he wanted to deal a psychological blow to Americans, the ‘enemies of Allah,’ by hitting the Pentagon, which he called ‘head and heart of the snake.’
In a conversation with a federal informant, Ferdaus allegedly explained how in ancient times, God uses natural disasters to punish evil civilizations, and he would use them today.
‘For us, we’ve gotta do that,’ he said, according to the affidavit. ‘Allah has given us the privilege… he punishes them by our hand. We’re the ones.’
‘The conduct alleged today shows that Mr Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country. Thanks to the diligence of the FBI and our many other law enforcement partners, that plan was thwarted.’ U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement.
‘In addition to protecting our citizens from the threats and violence alleged today, we also have an obligation to protect members of every community, race and religion against violence and other unlawful conduct,’ Mr Ortiz said.
Eerie: An amateur surveillance photo of the Pentagon said to be taken by Ferdaus as he plotted during a trip to Washington D.C. in May
The Department of Justice also said that ‘the public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by undercover FBI employees.
It went on to say that Ferdaus was in contact with the undercover officers as they monitored the development of his plot.
The FBI agent in charge of the operation said that more than 30 federal, state and local agencies worked with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on this arrest.
Ferdus studied physics at Northeastern University where he reportedly went by the name ‘Bollywood’ and played drums in a Massachusetts band, according to CBS.
The undercover operation started in 2010 and Ferdus frequently met with officers who were pretending to be either members of or recruiters for Al Qaeda.
During their meetings, Ferdus would give the officers mobile phones that he had rigged to be the detonators for IED, that they would then bring overseas and use to kill American soldiers.
After one such meeting, the undercover officer told Ferdus that a previous device had killed three American soldiers and injured four or five more; Ferdus replied ‘That was exactly what I wanted’.
According to the federal affidavit, Ferdaus began planning ‘jihad’ against the U.S. in early 2010.
In one meeting, he said that his desire to kill Americans was so strong that he said ‘I just can’t stop; there is no other choice for me’.
Ferdaus even allegedly travelled to Washington D.C. last May, gathering pictures of his proposed targets.
He discussed his plan for a massive attack on the Capitol, in which he intended to cause a high number of casualties as well as instil psychological fear, with undercover officers at great length.
Ferdaus planned to use an ‘aerial assault’ to ‘eliminate key locations of the [Pentagon] building …and leave one area only as a squeeze where the individuals will be isolated, they’ll be vulnerable and we can dominate’.
He planned to use planes laden with C-4 and AK-47 machine guns to complete the attack.daily mail