FBI arrests man plotting to blow up Pentagon, Capitol Building

The Takeaway

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Law enforcement officials accused a 26-year-old man from a town west of Boston of plotting to blow up the Pentagon and the Capitol Building with a remote-controlled aircraft fitted with explosives. Officials said Rezwan Ferdaus, who has a physics degree from Northeastern University, has also provided resources to Al Qaida to aid in attacks on American soldiers overseas.

Abby Goodnough, who covered the story for The New York Times, says Ferdaus was found in possession of some of the materials he had planned to use in the attacks in Washington, DC. Undercover FBI agents, who Ferdaus believed were co-conspirators, delivered the other components.

“Six assault rifles, three grenades, 25 pounds of what may have been real explosives — and he had already been delivered this remote controlled aircraft,” according to Goodnough.

Ferdaus’ plot was co-developed by federal investigators, who for months worked with him in an elaborate undercover operation.

Gordon Correra, security correspondent for the BBC, recently investigated the FBI’s strategies for targeting terror suspects. He says the FBI runs its undercover operations around the country to finde people with the “capability” of carrying out attacks.

“The real controversy is whether they would be able to do something without the role of informants and the FBI,” Correra said.


“The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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