A Maryland man pleaded guilty Thursday to attempting to blow up an Army recruiting center near Baltimore.
Antonio Martinez, a Muslim convert who also goes by Muhammad Hussain, was arrested on Dec. 8, 2010, in an FBI sting after he tried to detonate a car bomb at the Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Md. The bomb, supplied by federal agents, was inert.
"We're catching dangerous suspects before they strike, and we are investigating them in a way that maximizes the liberty and security of law-abiding citizens," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a press release issued by the Department of Justice. "That is what the American people expect of the Justice Department, and that is what we aim to deliver."
According to the plea agreement, Martinez first raised the subject of attacking military targets with an undercover informant. In recorded conversations with the informant, Martinez expressed his anger toward America, his belief that Muslims were being unfairly targeted by the U.S. military, and his desire to commit jihad to send a message that American soldiers would be killed as long as the U.S. continued with its "war" against Islam. He also told the informant that "jihad was not only in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but also in the United States."
Martinez was later introduced by the informant to an FBI agent posing as an "Afghani brother" who would assist him in the operation.
Martinez attracted law enforcement attention when he posted messages on his Facebook page espousing his radical beliefs.
"The sword is cumin the reign of oppression is about 2 cease," he wrote in one.
Prosecutors believe that Martinez was radicalized on the Internet through websites including the now-defunct RevolutionMuslim.com, a website which promoted global jihad.
Martinez was also inspired by the teachings of American-born radical Yemeni cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki. In a Facebook message, Martinez wrote:
"I love Sheikh Anwar al Awlaki for the sake of ALLAH. A real inspiration (sic) for the Ummah, I don't care if he is on the terrorist list! May ALLAH give him Kire ameen."
Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen last September, was tied numerous terror plots targeting America, including the Fort Hood massacre, the Christmas Day bomb plot, and the failed Times Square plot. As part of the plea agreement, Martinez faces 25 years in prison when he is sentenced April 6.