A 26-year-old Ashland man was arrested and charged these days in connection with his plot to harm or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, using big remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives. Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen, was also charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, particularly to al Qaeda, in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

“Our leading priority would be to safeguard our nation from terrorism and national security threats. The conduct alleged these days shows that Mr. Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country, which includes attacks on the Pentagon and our nation’s Capitol. Thanks towards the diligence of the FBI and our numerous other law enforcement partners, that strategy was thwarted,” stated U.S. Lawyer Carmen M. Ortiz. “I want the public to understand that Mr. Ferdaus’ conduct, as alleged in the complaint, isn’t reflective of a specific culture, community, or religion,” she added. “In addition to protecting our citizens from the threats and violence alleged today, we also have an obligation to safeguard members of each and every community, race, and religion against violence and other unlawful conduct.”

The public was by no means in danger from the explosive devices, which had been controlled by undercover FBI employees (UCs). The defendant was closely monitored as his alleged plot developed and the UCs had been in frequent contact with him.

Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Division stated, “Today’s arrest was the culmination of an investigation forged via powerful relationships among various Massachusetts law enforcement agencies to detect, deter, and stop terrorism. Every of the much more than 30 federal, state, and nearby agencies on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) worked together to protect the community from this threat. In this particular investigation, the Worcester, Ashland, and Framingham Police Departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, played especially crucial roles. The communities of Worcester, Ashland, and Framingham ought to be proud of the unwavering commitment and professionalism the agencies demonstrated in ensuring that their towns and region were secure from harm. The Massachusetts State Police and the Commonwealth Fusion Center also contributed significantly to this investigation.”

“The FBI utilized an undercover operation to conduct this investigation. Undercover operations are utilized to combat all kinds of crimes and criminals, which includes in the counterterrorism arena.”

“The JTTF initiated this investigation because we have an obligation to take action to safeguard the public whenever an individual expresses a desire to commit violence. A committed individual, even 1 with no direct connections to, or formal training from, an international terrorist organization, can pose a serious danger to the community,” added DesLauriers. “It is essential to keep in mind that our method of justice is based on the notion of individual responsibility. Consequently, nobody ought to cite Mr. Ferdaus’ actions as an excuse or cause to engage in any unlawful behavior against other people in the community. We will work diligently to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

The affidavit alleges the following: 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, every of which he modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED. He then supplied the phones to FBI UCs, who he believed to be members of, or recruiters for, al Qaeda. Based on the affidavit, Ferdaus believed that the devices would be used to kill American soldiers overseas. Throughout a June 2011 meeting, he appeared gratified when he was told that his initial phone detonation device had killed 3 U.S. soldiers and injured 4 or 5 other people in Iraq. Ferdaus responded, “That was exactly what I wanted.”

According to the affidavit, following every subsequent delivery, Ferdaus was anxious to know how well every of his detonation devices had worked and how many Americans they had killed. During recorded conversations, Ferdaus stated that he devised the idea of attacking the Pentagon lengthy before he met using the government’s cooperating witness (CW) and UC, and that his jihad had, “started last year.”

In recorded conversations using the CW that started in January 2011, Ferdaus stated that he planned to attack the Pentagon utilizing aircraft similar to “small drone airplanes” filled with explosives and guided by GPS equipment. According to the affidavit, in April 2011, Ferdaus expanded his strategy to consist of an attack on the U.S. Capitol. In Might and June 2011, Ferdaus delivered two thumb drives towards 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.

Throughout various recorded meetings, Ferdaus envisioned causing a big “psychological” impact by killing Americans, which includes women and children, who he referred to as “enemies of Allah.” Based on the affidavit, Ferdaus’ desire to attack the United States is so powerful that he confided, “I just can’t stop; there’s no other choice for me.”

In May 2011, Ferdaus traveled from Boston to Washington, D.C., conducted surveillance and took photographs of his targets (Pentagon and Capitol), and identified and photographed websites at the East Potomac Park from which he planned to launch his aircraft filled with explosives. Upon his return, Ferdaus told the UC that “more stuff ha[d] to be done,” that his plan needed to be expanded, and that he had decided to couple his “aerial assault” plan having a “ground directive.” Ferdaus indicated that his ground assault strategy would involve the use of six individuals, armed with automatic firearms and divided into two teams. Ferdaus described his expanded attack as follows:

…with this aerial assault, we can successfully get rid of key places of the P-building then we can add to it in order to take out everything else and leave one region only as a squeeze where the individuals will probably be isolated, they’ll be vulnerable and we can dominate.

As soon as isolated, Ferdaus planned to “open up on them” and “keep firing” to produce “chaos” and “take out” everyone. He also supplied the expanded strategy towards the UC on a thumb drive.

Between Might and September 2011, Ferdaus researched, ordered and acquired the essential components for his attack plans, which includes one remote controlled aircraft (F-86 Sabre). This morning prior to his arrest, Ferdaus received from the UCs 25 pounds of (what he believed to be) C-4 explosives, six fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifles (machine guns) and grenades. In June 2011, Ferdaus rented a storage facility in Framingham, Mass., under a false name, to use to build his attack planes and preserve all his equipment.

Based on the affidavit, in August 2011, the F-86 remote controlled aircraft was delivered to the Framingham storage facility. Ferdaus delivered a total of eight detonation devices to the UCs over the course of the investigation, which he built using the intention that they be used by al Qaeda operatives overseas to kill U.S. soldiers. On September 20, 2011 Ferdaus made a coaching video, which he provided to the UCs, demonstrating how you can make “cell phone detonators.”

According to the affidavit, at today’s meeting the UCs allowed Ferdaus to inspect the explosives and firearms (a quantity of C-4 explosives, three grenades, and six fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifles) that the UCs delivered, and that Ferdaus had requested for his attack strategy. Following inspecting the components, Ferdaus brought them to his storage unit, took possession of the explosives and firearms, and locked them in his storage unit. Ferdaus was then immediately arrested.

Although Ferdaus was presented with numerous opportunities to back out of his strategy, which includes, being told that his attack would likely kill women and kids, the affidavit alleges that Ferdaus never wavered in his desire to carry out the attacks.

If convicted, Ferdaus faces as much as 15 years in prison on the material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization charge; as much as 20 years in prison on the charge of attempting to destroy national defense premises; along with a five-year minimum mandatory in prison and up to 20 years on the charge of attempting to harm and destroy buildings which are owned by the United States, by using an explosive. On each charge Ferdaus also faces up to 3 years of supervised release along with a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Worcester, Ashland and Framingham Police Departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms ,and Explosives.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and Donald L. Cabell of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.

The particulars contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

By daryl

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