WASHINGTON - A 26-year-old Massachusetts man has been arrested and charged in connection with a plot to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
Rezwan Ferdaus, of Ashland, Mass. and a U.S. citizen, also was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization -- specifically to al-Qaida -- in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.
Ferdaus was arrested Wednesday in Framingham after undercover federal agents delivered materials he'd allegedly requested for his plan, including grenades, six machine guns and what he believed was 24 pounds of C-4 explosive.
According to a federal affidavit, Ferdaus said he wanted to deal a psychological blow to Americans, the "enemies of Allah," by hitting the Pentagon, which he called the "head and heart of the snake."
In a conversation with a federal informant, Ferdaus allegedly explained how in ancient times, God uses natural disasters to punish evil civilizations, and he would use them today.
"For us, we've gotta do that," he said, according to the affidavit. "Allah has given us the privilege ... he punishes them by our hand. We're the ones."
Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen and Northeastern University graduate, was scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Worcester on Wednesday afternoon.
Telephone messages were left at the office of his attorney, Catherine Byrne, and at the address listed for Ferdaus in the affidavit.
The FBI says the public was never in danger. But law enforcement officials have said they are concerned about potential homegrown terrorists, and several alleged domestic plots have been thwarted since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including in Lackawanna, N.Y.; Portland, Ore.; and Virginia.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press and WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)