Another sting operation by federal law enforcement officials has led to the arrest of an American citizen from a Boston suburb who thought he was arming remote controlled planes to bomb the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, is charged with attempting to blow up government buildings and with conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida to kill American troops abroad.
Ferdaus, who lives in Ashland, Mass., wanted 25 pounds of C-4 plastic explosives for his attacks. The explosives were controlled by FBI agents and never posed a real threat, an FBI news release said. But Ferdaus did have a storage unit in which he would build the aerial bomb and bought a remote controlled plane in August.
Those aircraft "are capable of carrying a variety of payloads (including a lethal payload of explosives), can use a wide range of take-off and landing environments, and fly different flight patterns than commercial airlines, thus reducing detection," FBI Supervisory Special Agent Gary Cacace wrote in an affidavit.
Ferdaus' attack plan was "extremely detailed, well-written," Cacace wrote.
Ferdaus said he wanted to hit America's "military center," create public panic and kill as many kafirs, or non-believers, as possible. Told that women and children likely would die in his attacks, Ferdaus did not hesitate.
"Every kafir [non-believer] is an enemy," he said during a May conversation, so "every kafir [sic] blood is okay."
He went to Washington that month to scout his targets and find an area in East Potomac Park from which to launch the aircraft.
Ferdaus also bought cellular telephones that could be used to detonate explosives. When undercover agents, posing as al-Qaida operatives, told him in June that one of those phones helped kill three American troops in Iraq, Ferdaus replied "That was exactly what I wanted."
FBI testing determined the telephones could be used to detonate bombs. He provided other telephones, asking for information about how many American troops they helped kill. Ferdaus said he "want [ed] to hit the kafir [non-believer] armies and [kill] as many people as possible."
An FBI informant started talking with Ferdaus late last year. In January, the affidavit alleges, Ferdaus told the informant of his plan to attack the Pentagon. He asked for help finding "a connection that would be able to gather, ah, some material where we can build some of the explosive enough to take out a target that's like three football fields, say a radius, of one or two blocks?"
In his view, attacking the Pentagon was part of a religious duty "to eliminate and terrify all enemies of Allah. We have this project started ... This is, this is what we have to do. This is the righteous way ... [to] terrorize enemies of Allah."
He was arrested Wednesday at the storage unit after inspecting the C-4, grenades and six AK-47s the undercover agents delivered to him.
Read the full affidavit here.