Muslim-American admits guilt in Pentagon bomb plot

Rezwan Ferdaus pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

Written by Agencies | Boston | Published: July 21, 2012 9:52 am

A Muslim-American man Saturday pleaded guilty to his role in a plot to use remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives to blow up the Pentagon and US Capital.

Rezwan Ferdaus pleaded guilty to attempting to provide

material support to terrorists and attempting to damage and

destroy federal buildings by means of an explosive.

The 26-year-old was arrested last year after federal employees posing as al-Qaeda members delivered materials he requested,including grenades,machine guns and plastic

explosives.

Under a plea agreement,federal prosecutors agreed to drop four other charges. Prosecutors and Ferdaus’ lawyers also

agreed to request a 17-year sentence on charges that carry a combined maximum of 35 years in prison.

Ferdaus grew up in Massachusetts and has a physics degree

from Boston’s Northeastern University.

His mother sobbed uncontrollably after Ferdaus was led

away. She had to be helped by Ferdaus’ brother.

Authorities said the explosives were always under the

control of federal agents,and the public was never in danger.

Counter terrorism experts and model-aircraft enthusiasts

say it would be nearly impossible to inflict large-scale

damage using model planes.

Prosecutors have said Ferdaus began planning jihad,or

holy war,against the United States in early 2010 after becoming convinced through jihadi websites and videos that

America was evil. He later contacted a federal informant and

began meeting to discuss the plot with undercover agents he

believed were members of al-Qaeda.

Ferdaus was accused of planning to use three remote controlled planes measuring 152 to 203 centimetres in length and capable of speeds greater than 100 mph (160 kph).

Each plane,guided by GPS,was to be packed with 2.2 kilograms of explosives.

In court documents,authorities said Ferdaus traveled to

Washington to do surveillance and rented storage space to work on the planes in Massachusetts.

Ferdaus told undercover agents that he felt compelled to

attack the US,authorities said.

“I just can’t stop. There is no other choice for me,”

according to a recorded conversation detailed in an affidavit

filed in court.

Sentencing is set for November 1.

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