Security Experts:

Man Arrested in Plot to Attack Pentagon via Remote Control Aircraft Loaded with C-4

Defendant planned to attack the Pentagon and the Capitol using aircraft similar to “small drone airplanes” filled with explosives and guided by GPS equipment.

A 26-year-old man from Ashland, Massachusetts was arrested and charged yesterday in connection with his plot to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, using large remote controlled aircraft filled with explosives. Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen, was also charged with attempting to provide support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically Al Qaeda, in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers overseas. The public was not in danger from explosive devices, which were controlled by undercover FBI employees .

Massachusetts Man Plots Attack on Pentagon 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, each of which he modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED. He then supplied the phones to FBI undercover employees (UCs), who he believed to be members of, or recruiters for, al Qaeda. According to the affidavit, Ferdaus believed that the devices would be used to kill American soldiers overseas.

In recorded conversations with the government's cooperating witness (CW) that began in January 2011, Ferdaus stated that he planned to attack the Pentagon and the Capitol using aircraft similar to “small drone airplanes” filled with explosives and guided by GPS equipment.

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 sites at the East Potomac Park from which he planned to launch his aircraft filled with explosives. Upon his return, he decided to couple his “aerial assault” plan with a “ground directive.”

Between May and September 2011, Ferdaus researched, ordered and acquired the necessary components for his attack plans. In June 2011, Ferdaus rented a storage facility in Framingham, Mass., under a false name, to use to build his attack planes and maintain all his equipment. Ferdaus delivered a total of eight detonation devices to the UCs over the course of the investigation, which he built with the intention that they be used by al Qaeda operatives overseas to kill U.S. soldiers. On September 20, 2011 Ferdaus made a training video, which he provided to the UCs, demonstrating how to make “cell phone detonators.”

After inspecting the explosives and firearms, Ferdaus was immediately arrested.

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

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