A 26-year-old Massachusetts man has been arrested and accused of plotting to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol with large remote-controlled aircraft filled with explosives.
CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports that U.S. officials say the suspect, Rezwan Ferdaus was deadly serious about his plans, but the plot had no chance of succeeding.
Ferdaus, an U.S. citizen and Northeastern University graduate, went by the name "Bollywood" when he played in a Massachusetts band. However, U.S. officials say the drummer is also a self-radicalized jihadist, intent on attacking Americans in the U.S. and overseas.
Ferdaus now faces charges of plotting attacks and supporting a foreign terrorist organization.
Ferdaus was arrested after he bought what he believed to be 25 pounds of plastic explosives, three grenades and six automatic assault rifles from undercover FBI agents posing as al Qaeda operatives.
Over the past nine months, the agents recorded multiple conversations in which Ferdaus laid out plans for an aerial attack. He bought one small drone aircraft and planned to buy others which he hoped to fill with explosives and fly into Pentagon and Capitol from a park along the Potomac River.
He travelled to Washington to do surveillance taking pictures of his targets.
Officials stress that at no time was Ferdaus outside of the control of his undercover handlers, so he presented no actual danger. But, he repeatedly told the agents that he was driven to kill Americans which he called "enemies of Allah."
He told the undercovers: "I just can't stop. There is no other choice for me."
Ferdaus' college degree is in physics, and he apparently has some proficiency with building explosive devices. In the course of the investigation, officials say he converted eight cell phones into detonators, which he thought were being used in Iraq to trigger IEDs against U.S. soldiers.
Ferdaus was scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in Worcester on Wednesday afternoon.
There is a good chance Ferdaus will try to claim he was entrapped by the undercover FBI agents, but agents say they gave him multiple opportunities to get out of it during the course of their investigation.