Feds bust alleged American jihadi for plotting to hit Pentagon, Capitol with remote controlled planes

His name is Rezwan Ferdaus and, yes, he’s a U.S. citizen. Via TPM, you’ll find the FBI affidavit embedded below. A few lowlights: Paragraph 12 describes how he got hooked on jihadi propaganda; paragraph 18 notes his desire to attack, if not the Pentagon and the Capitol, at least a subway station or military base; paragraph 27 claims he wanted to train overseas with the jihadi A-team; paragraph 40 flags the fact that he thought killing women and children was okay since they are, after all, kaffir; paragraph 63 chronicles his excitement upon being told (falsely) that cell-phone detonators he had built to trigger IEDs had killed American troops in Iraq; and paragraph 75 asserts that he’d hoped to make 20 or 30 such detonators every single week. (In fact, per paragraph 80, he made a training video on how to build the detonators just eight days ago.)

Ambitious guy. Big plans.

Ferdaus allegedly gave the undercover FBI agents a detailed set of attack plans “with step-by-step instructions as to how he planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol,” according to the Department of Justice.

The plans focused on the use of three small remote-controlled drone-like aircraft loaded with C-4 plastic explosives, which he planned to fly into the Capitol and the Pentagon using GPS equipment, according to the DOJ…

According to the DOJ, Ferdaus aimed to create a devastating psychological impact with the attacks, saying at one point, “I just can’t stop; there is no other choice for me.”…

For the past five months, Ferdaus has allegedly been stockpiling the equipment he needed for his proposed attack, including a remote controlled aircraft, 25 pounds of fake C-4 explosives, six automatic AK-47 assault rifles and three grenades, according to the DOJ. He allegedly kept all of it in a storage facility in Massachusetts, where he was arrested.

Go over to TPM and check out the embarrassing “surveillance” photo Ferdaus took of the Pentagon. Then go look at the photo Dan Foster found, which appears to be of Ferdaus, showing a guy in a Bulls jersey
playing drums in a punk band. According to the affidavit, he started plotting an attack in early 2010, but there are no details about his background, when he started to “turn” from angry punk to would-be mujahid, how the FBI first got wind of the plot, and so forth. The paradox of guys like this is that they’re incredibly dangerous — note the arsenal Ferdaus assembled described in the blockquote — but to some extent the plot seems like some bizarre fantasy for them. There are a million photos of the Pentagon online, virtually all of them better than the one Ferdaus took, but a “real” jihadi conducts his own surveillance so that’s what he did. If he was intent on killing Americans, he could have bought a couple of pistols and walked into a mall or a recruiting center somewhere and done it, but a “real” jihadi insists on elaborate plots that take months to plan and involve lots of personnel and explosions — so that’s what Ferdaus did. Even his idea of using remote-controlled planes feels like scaled-down mimickry of 9/11. That is to say, his insistence on following the “jihadi M.O.” ended up making him a less stealthy, less effective jihadi. Here’s to amateurs.

Complaint Affidavit