A Georgia man has been arrested by the FBI on suspicion of planning an attack Thursday on the White House and federal buildings in Washington, D.C.
The suspect, 21-year-old Hasher Jallal Taheb, allegedly possessed a “hand-drawn diagram” of the West Wing’s ground floor and planned to equip a backpack with explosives and approach the White House “from the back road, causing a distraction for police, and then proceeding into [it]” to launch an attack. The suspect also allegedly planned attacks on the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and a “specific synagogue,” which was not named in the court filing.
NBC 11 reports:
The investigation, [U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak] said, began after a tip from someone in the community. It claims that Taheb planned to use explosive devices and an anti-tank rocket to carry out his attack. At this time, Pak said they believe Taheb was acting alone and “all potential threats have been neutralized.” Pak stressed there was never any threat against Georgia or the upcoming Super Bowl.
Taheb has been charged with violating Title 18USC 844(f)(1), an “attempt to damage by means of an explosive any building owned, possessed, or leased by the United States or any department or agency thereof, or any institution or organization receiving federal financial assistance.”
Federal prosecutors told reporters that the next step will be to present their case before a grand jury.
Appearing in a federal court in Atlanta Wednesday, Taheb is described to have a “thin build” and a long beard with “shaggy” black hair, according to CNN’s Nick Valencia.
In August, Taheb is said to have put his car up for sale and was soon contacted by an FBI informant. Days later, the pair met up, where the suspect allegedly told the informant that he wanted to visit “hijra”— a reference to territory controlled by ISIS — and was eager to offload the vehicle to pay for a passport. Taheb allegedly told the informant he planned on targeting the White and Statue of Liberty in “jihadist attacks.”
Local reports say federal authorities are executing a search warrant at the suspect’s home Wednesday evening.
— Alyssa Hyman (@AlyssaHymanWSB) January 16, 2019
Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said of the foiled plot: “Taheb is charged as the result of a year-long investigation by FBI Atlanta’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. We want to thank the Forsyth County Sheriff Office and Gwinnett County Police Department for assisting us with his arrest. The investigation is continuing, but at this stage it is believed Taheb was acting on his own.”