ATLANTA, GA (CBS46) A 21-year-old from Cumming is facing serious charges after federal agencies say he planned to attack the White House.
The suspect, identified as Hasher Jallal Taheb, is charged with intent to destroy by fire or explosives a building owned by the U.S.
According to a criminal complaint, an anonymous tip was reported to local law enforcement in March 2018. The tipster stated Taheb had become "radicalized, changed his name, and made plans to travel abroad."
Agents began communication with the suspect in August when he listed a car for sale. The funds from the sale were said to be funding a trip overseas for hijra.
On December 7, an undercover FBI agent met with Taheb where he was shown a hand-drawn diagram of the ground floor of the White Houses's West Wing.
Taheb was arrested Wednesday January 16 in Buford. FBI agents say he arranged to exchange vehicles for three semi-automatic assault rifles, three explosive devices with remote initiation and one AT-4.
The FBI released the following statement:
"It is important to point out that this investigation and arrest were the direct result of a tip from the community, another example of how important it is to contact law enforcement if you see or hear something suspicious," said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. "Taheb is charged as the result of a year-long investigation by FBI Atlanta's Joint Terrorism Task Force. We want to thank the Forsyth County Sheriff Office and Gwinnett County Police Department for assisting us with his arrest. The investigation is continuing, but at this stage it is believed Taheb was acting on his own."
Here’s more details on how it all went down…
“His alleged intent was to attack the White House and other targets of opportunity in the Washington, D.C. area,” U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak said.
Pak said Taheb intended to use IEDs and an anti-tank rocket to carry out the attacks.
The criminal complaint, which accuses him of plotting to destroy a government building, said a community member contacted law enforcement in March 2018 to say that Taheb had become radicalized.
On Aug. 25, 2018, Taheb allegedly put his vehicle up for sale. An FBI informant reached out to show interest and met with the suspect days later.
Taheb allegedly said he planned to travel to “hijra,” a term said to refer to Islamic State territory and he was selling the car to fund the trip. But he didn’t have a passport.
He allegedly told the informant he wanted to attack the White House and Statue of Liberty in jihadist attacks.
During one meeting with an FBI agent and the source, Taheb “advised that if they were to go to another country, they would be one of many, but if they stayed in the United States, they could do more damage,” the affidavit says. Taheb “explained that jihad was an obligation, that he wanted to do as much damage as possible, and that he expected to be a ‘martyr,’ meaning he expected to die during the attack.”