Rezwan Ferdaus, a 26-year-old Massachusetts resident was arrested in an FBI sting on Wednesday after allegedly plotting to use a large remote controlled aircraft packed with C-4 plastic explosives to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol.
Ferdaus allegedly traveled to Washington, D.C. to take photos of his targets in May 2011, all while under FBI surveillance. The Northeastern University graduate allegedly began planning to commit "jihad" against the United States in early 2010 and obtained mobile phones that he modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED.
Ferdaus allegedly supplied the phones to undercover FBI agents that he thought were members of or recruiters for al Qaeda. He allegedly thought the devices would be used to kill American soldiers overseas.
The feds said in a press release that Ferdaus "was anxious to know how well each of his detonation devices had worked and how many Americans they had killed." They said that during recorded conversations, "Ferdaus stated that he devised the idea of attacking the Pentagon long before he met with the government's cooperating witness (CW) and UC, and that his jihad had, 'started last year.'"
Starting in Jan. 2011, Ferdaus had recorded conversations with a cooperating witness in which he allegedly disclosed that he planned to attack the Pentagon with "small drone airplanes" that were filled with explosives and could be guided by GPS equipment. He allegedly expanded his plan in April to include the Capitol. From a press release:
In May and June 2011, Ferdaus delivered two thumb drives to the UCs, which contained detailed attack plans with step-by-step instructions as to how he planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol. The plans included using three remote controlled aircraft and six people, including himself whom he described as an "amir," i.e., an Arabic term meaning leader.
"I just can't stop; there is no other choice for me," Ferdaus allegedly said in one recorded conversation.
The feds say FBI agents offered Ferdaus multiple opportunities to back out of the plan, but he allegedly "never wavered in his desire to carry out the attacks."
Things came to a point on Wednesday, when undercover agents let Ferdaus inspect the C-4 explosives, three grenades and six fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifles that he had requested for his attack plan. After inspecting the components, the feds said "Ferdaus brought them to his storage unit, took possession of the explosives and firearms, and locked them in his storage unit." Ferdaus was immediately arrested.
Ferdaus allegedly took this surveillance photo of the Pentagon during his trip to the D.C. area.
At the top of the page are two photos the FBI provided that show the type of remote controlled planes Ferdaus was allegedly trying to use. One was a F-4 Phantom, the other was a F-86 Sabre, according to the FBI affidavit. They are smaller scale versions of U.S. military fighter jets that range from 60 to 80 inches in length and have a wingspan range of 44 to 63 inches.
Affidavit embedded below.
Republished with permission from TalkingPointsMemo.com. Authored by Ryan J. Reilly. Photos provided by the FBI. TPM provides breaking news, investigative reporting and smart analysis of politics.