FBI officials announced yesterday that a 21-year-old Georgia man has been arrested for plotting against several prominent Washington, D.C. locations, including the White House and at least one known Jewish site. The arrest came as part of a wider sting operation, one which American citizen Hasher Jallal Taheb was added to 10 months ago. Local Georgia authorities informed the feds in March of 2018 that they suspected Taheb had become radicalized and might pose a threat to the United States.
According to ABC6, Taheb’s potential criminal involvement first came to light when a Georgia community member contacted local police. The unnamed informant claimed that the suspect had “become radicalized, changed his name, and made plans to travel abroad.”
Hasher Taheb applied for a replacement U.S. passport in July. When asked why he needed a new one, the suspect claimed his old one had become lost. In order to fund his trip overseas, Taheb then tried to sell his vehicle. An unnamed FBI informant looked at the car and developed a friendship with the suspect.
By December of 2018, Taheb’s plans to go overseas were canceled in favor of causing damage domestically. He had also grown to trust the FBI informant, and allegedly started divulging his plans to attack U.S. landmarks. Taheb’s reported hit list included the White House and the Statue of Liberty.
Hasher Taheb is accused of using terms like “they could do more damage” in the U.S. and “the group would fight to the end and make it a big bang.” However, CNN reported that FBI officials believe Taheb was acting alone.
It’s unclear if the “group” Hasher Taheb referenced was simply jihadists in general or if Taheb believed that he and the FBI informant were a “group.” What is known is that Taheb allegedly said “jihad was the best deed in Islam” and that doing a jihad today “was not at all complicated.” The suspect is also believed to have said that his goal was to become “a martyr.”
Hasher Taheb’s ambitions had grown by December 14. Per the FBI informant, the suspect’s hit list expanded that day to include the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the West Wing of the White House, and an unnamed D.C. area synagogue. Taheb is also accused of making plans for a home base that could be used to show videos of “oppressed Muslims,” along with giving “a speech to motivate people.” The very next day, Taheb started communicating with people about his plans via an online message board, and he also uploaded a 40-page manifesto outlining his plan.
Hasher Taheb soon hatched a plot to trade his car for weapons. On January 16, 2019, he met with the FBI informant and an undercover agent to bring his plans to fruition. Taheb handed his car keys over in exchange for four high-powered weapons and three explosive devices. A few minutes later, the undercover agent arrested him.
The criminal complaint states that the attack was supposed to happen Thursday, according to the Washington Times, and that “Mr. Taheb was arrested immediately after picking up the planned weapons — ‘three semi-automatic assault rifles, three explosive devices with remote initiation and one AT-4,’ an anti-tank rocket launcher.”
Hasher Taheb has already had his first appearance in front of a judge, and is due back in court on January 24 — where he’ll face charges for his reported plot to conduct multiple terrorist acts on U.S. soil.
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