A Georgia man was charged Wednesday with plotting a terrorist attack on the White House, after he allegedly told an undercover FBI agent he “wanted to do as much damage as possible” and hoped to be a martyr, according to court papers.
Hasher Jallal Taheb, 21, is accused of attempting to damage or destroy the White House by means of fire or an explosive, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Atlanta.
The court papers said the FBI began investigating Taheb in March, when an unidentified citizen told law enforcement officials that he had “become radicalized.”
An FBI informant and an undercover FBI agent later befriended Taheb, and in their conversations, the suspect described his plan to “blow a hole in the White House” so that the trio could then enter and attack the people inside with guns and grenades, according to the criminal complaint.
On Wednesday, Taheb, the informant and the undercover agent met in a parking lot in Buford, Ga., to exchange their cars for rifles, an antitank weapon and explosives, according to the complaint.
As part of the sting operation, the weapons were all rendered inert, officials said.
According to the charging document, Taheb was arrested after the exchange was made. It is unclear if he has obtained a lawyer.
The operation is similar to others that the FBI has used on terrorism suspects, with one notable exception: For the past three weeks, the undercover and the other agents on the case have not been paid, because of the partial government shutdown that has meant no paychecks for Justice Department employees, including FBI agents.