Virginia Man Arrested For Plot Against D.C. Metro Stations
Another undercover sting nets a would-be terrorist.
A Pakistani-born U.S. citizen was arrested Wednesday on charges of planning bombings at Metrorail stations in the Washington, D.C., area after an FBI sting operation, the Justice Department announced.
“Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, Va., was arrested today for attempting to assist others whom he believed to be members of al-Qaida,” the department said in a statement.
A grand jury returned an indictment against Ahmed on Tuesday, “charging him with attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, collecting information to assist in planning a terrorist attack on a transit facility, and attempting to provide material support to help carry out multiple bombings,” the department added.
The department said the indictment laid out this timeline of events:
- On April 18, “Ahmed allegedly drove to a hotel in Dulles, Va., and met with a courier he believed to be affiliated with a terrorist organization who provided Ahmed with a document that provided potential locations at which future meetings could be arranged.”
- On or about May 15, “at a hotel in Herndon, Va., Ahmed allegedly agreed to watch and photograph another hotel in Washington, D.C., and a Metrorail station in Arlington, Va., to obtain information about their security and busiest periods.”
- On or about July 19, “in a hotel room in Sterling, Va., Ahmed allegedly handed a memory stick containing video images of a Metrorail station in Arlington to an individual whom Ahmed believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida.”
- On that same day, “Ahmed allegedly agreed to assess the security of two other Metrorail stations in Arlington as locations of terrorist attacks.”
- On or about Sept. 28, “in a hotel room in Herndon, Ahmed handed a USB drive containing images of two Metrorail stations in Arlington to an individual whom Ahmed believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida.”
- On or about Sept. 28, “Ahmed provided to an individual whom he believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida diagrams that Ahmed drew of three Metrorail stations in Arlington and provided suggestions as to where explosives should be placed on trains in Metrorail stations in Arlington to kill the most people in simultaneous attacks planned for 2011.
As has been the case in many cases since the 9/11 attacks, this seems to be one of those situations where a wanna-be terrorist makes contact with what he believes to be an agent of al-Qaeda and then proceeds to engage in acts that would clearly constitute a criminal conspiracy to commit terrorism.If nothing else, it demonstrates to some degree the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts to root out al Qaeda sympathizers who don’t otherwise have contact with radical elements in the United States.
It isn’t a perfect way to fight terrorism, of course. Undercover operations didn’t stop the Times Square bomber, after all, and they didn’t stop Major Nidal Hasan from going on a shooting spree at Fort Hood. Nonetheless, there is something slightly comforting about the knowledge that guys like Ahmed are getting caught before they can actually do anything .