The FBI arrested a Massachusetts man, who they say plotted to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol using “small drone airplanes” loaded with explosives.
The suspect, Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen from Ashland, was arrested today and charged with attempting to destroy national defense premises, attempting to damage and destroy buildings owned by the U.S. government and attempting to provide material support and resources to al-Qaeda, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
A graduate of Northeastern University in Boston with a physics degree, Ferdaus began plotting a “violent jihad” against the U.S. early last year, the Justice Department said in the statement. He modified mobile phones to act as electrical switches for an improvised explosive device and then supplied them to undercover FBI agents whom he believed to be members or recruiters for al-Qaeda, the department said.
Ferdaus believed the devices would be used to kill U.S. soldiers overseas and appeared “gratified” when told in June 2011 that his first device had killed three soldiers and wounded four or five others in Iraq, the Justice Department said.
According to the Boston Globe, the FBI says it started recording conversations with Ferdaus in January. The FBI says he took a surveilance trip to Washington and between May and in September “he ordered and acquired materials for his plans, including a remote controlled aircraft.”
The FBI delivered what Ferdaus thought were C-4 explosives, AK-47s and grenades, before his arrest.