Massachusetts man pleads guilty in plot to attack Pentagon, Capitol

BOSTON Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:07pm EDT

1 of 3. Booking mug of Rezwan Ferdaus obtained from U.S. Department of Justice October 28, 2011.

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BOSTON (Reuters) - A Massachusetts man charged with plotting to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with large, remote-controlled model airplanes packed with explosives has agreed to plead guilty, authorities said on Tuesday.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have agreed to request a 17-year sentence for Rezwan Ferdaus on charges that he attempted to damage and destroy a federal building, and attempted to provide material support to terrorists.

Ferdaus, 26, of Ashland, Massachusetts, earlier pleaded not guilty to a total of six charges after his arrest in September 2011 after an undercover FBI investigation.

In exchange for the guilty plea, the government will dismiss the remaining charges.

A U.S. citizen and a physics graduate from Northeastern University, Ferdaus was arrested after an FBI investigation during which he requested and took delivery of explosives, three grenades and six assault rifles from undercover FBI agents.

At the time of his arrest, Ferdaus had obtained one remote-controlled aircraft, a scale model of a U.S. Navy F-86 Sabre fighter jet about the size of a picnic table, which he kept in a storage locker rented under a false name.

Authorities said the public was never in danger from the explosives and weapons, which they said were always under the control of federal officials during the sting operation.

The government had previously alleged that Ferdaus told undercover agents of his plans to commit acts of violence against the United States by decapitating its "military center" and killing "kafirs," an Arabic term meaning non-believers.

In 2010, already under surveillance, Ferdaus allegedly supplied 12 mobile phones rigged as electrical switches for improvised explosive devices to FBI agents whom he believed to be members of or recruiters for al Qaeda.

Ferdaus' attorneys suggested during a bail hearing in November that their client had mental health issues, and that his attack plan was "fantasy."

(Reporting By Ros Krasny; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (19)
gregbrew56 wrote:
Now there’s a Masshole!

Jul 10, 2012 11:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
feudi wrote:
Not one word about his motives or what drove him to this act. Just curious – could Rezwan Ferdaus possibly be an Islamofascist?

Jul 10, 2012 11:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Carney3 wrote:
A “Massachusetts man”? An old money, WASP Boston Brahmin tracing his roots back to the Mayflower? A clam chowdah accented, St. Patrick’s Day celebrating Catholic with a picture of JFK hanging in his mom’s house?

Whenever a Muslim terrorist does something, the headline always misleadingly mentions his state of residence, or the European or other white country he was stupidly given citizenship in, and carefully ignores the most relevant, informative, and important fact about him: THAT HE’S A MUSLIM.

Jul 10, 2012 12:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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