On Wednesday Federal authorities arrested a Muslim man they said was plotting to attack the White House but instead got entangled with the FBI.
21-year-old Hasher Jallal Taheb was taken into custody in Gwinnett County while allegedly trying to exchange his vehicle for explosives.
Jallal Taheb later appeared in court in downtown Atlanta in the case brought by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The Terrorism Task Force said Taheb was acting alone.
Hasher Jallal Taheb was arrested after a tip from a local resident who said the young man had been radicalized.
Taheb claimed he had never fired a gun in his life but said he could learn fast, the document said. Authorities also said he planned to travel to the Islamic State territory but acknowledged he didn’t have a passport.
“All potential threats have been neutralized and were under control from the inception of this case,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak, who added that authorities would take no questions on the investigation, which is ongoing.
The criminal complaint says 21-year-old Hasher Jallal Taheb
Agents were searching the home south of Cumming where Taheb is believed to live with his mother on Wednesday night.
How the FBI caught Hasher Jallal Taheb
The FBI set up a sting operation after a local law enforcement agency said that it got a tip from someone who said Taheb had become radicalized, changed his name and planned to travel abroad, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit filed in court.
Authorities said Taheb told an agent that was undercover he had never shot a gun but could learn easily and also said he had watched some videos of how grenades explode.
The affidavit says Taheb told the confidential FBI source back in October that he planned to travel abroad for “hijra,” which the FBI agent wrote referered to traveling to territory controlled by the Islamic State.
But because Taheb didn’t have a passport, he couldn’t actually travel abroad and told the FBI source that he wanted to carry out an attack in the United States against the White House as well as the Statue of Liberty.
During one meeting with the FBI agent and another source, Taheb “advised that if they were to go to another country, they would be one of many, but if they stayed in the United States, they could do more damage,” the affidavit says. Taheb “explained that jihad was an obligation, that he wanted to do as much damage as possible, and that he expected to be a ‘martyr,’ meaning he expected to die during the attack.”
In another meeting, the 21-year-old showed the undercover FBI agent a hand-drawn diagram of the ground floor of the West Wing of the White House and his detailed a plan for the attack, the FBI affidavit says.
He asked the undercover FBI agent to obtain the weapons and explosives needed to carry out the attack and discussed selling or exchanging their cars to pay for them.
21-year-old Hasher Jallal Taheb told the undercover FBI agent that they needed a “base” where they could regroup and could record a video to motivate people: “He stated he would be the narrator, clips of oppressed Muslims would be shown, and American and Israeli flags would be burned in the background.”
Taheb said in his detailed plan that he would approach the White House from the back road, causing a distraction for police and then would proceed into the White House, using an antitank weapon to blow open a door and then take down as many people and do as much damage as possible, the affidavit says.
Taheb met with the FBI source and undercover agent on Wednesday in a parking lot in Buford to exchange their cars for semi-automatic assault rifles, three explosive devices with remote detonators and an anti-tank rocket, the affidavit says.
Taheb and the undercover agent and FBI source whom he believed to be part of his plan turned over their car keys to the second FBI confidential source and then they loaded the inert explosives and guns into a rental vehicle, the affidavit states. Then, after they got into the car and closed the doors, it was then the FBI agents arrested Taheb.
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