A Virginia man was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly working to help a group of people he believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda plan multiple bombings at Metrorail stations in the Washington, D.C. area, according to the Department of Justice.
Farooque Ahmed will be appointed an attorney by the court and has been ordered to remain in custody until his detention hearing on Friday.
The Federal Grand Jury returned a three count indictment against Ahmed on Tuesday.
In light of the arrest the Department of Justice issued a statement to relieve the worries of the public. They announced that during the investigation there was no point when the public was in danger. According to the department Ahmed and his activities were closely monitored and there was no threat at any point to Metrorail or the Washington, D.C. area.
Ahmed is a naturalized U.S. citizen that was born in Pakistan. An affidavit issued in order to obtain a warrant states that he and an associate had be inquiring into how to make contact with terrorist organizations. He showed interest in participating in jihad through overseas work fighting against coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Ahmed has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, collecting information to assist in planning a terrorist attack on a transit facility and attempting to provide material support to help carry out multiple bombings to cause mass casualties. If convicted he faces a maximum of 50 years in prison.
There is no known connection between Ahmed and any overseas terrorist organization or individuals.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stated what a perfect example this case was of the work of FBI, law enforcement and national security to keep the country safe. He also stressed again that there was no danger at any point.
Ahmed is accused of attempting to assist others that he believed were associated with al Qaeda from April through Monday in the planning of multiple bombings at Metrorail stations.
According to the indictment, on April 18 Ahmed allegedly met with a courier he believed was associated with the terrorist organization and obtained a list of locations for future meetings. He then allegedly met with another person he believed to be a terrorist on May 15 and agreed to perform surveillance on a Washington hotel and on a Metrorail station and gather information on their security and busiest periods. Afterwards he allegedly did participate in that surveillance and recorded video of Arlington, VA, Metrorail stations on four separate occasions.
On July 19, Ahmed allegedly gave a memory stick with those video images to a person whom he believed was affiliated with al Qaeda and agreed to then check the security of two more stations as potential terrorist attack targets.
On September 28, he allegedly gave a USB drive full of images of those stations to a person believed to be in al Qaeda. He also provided his own drawn diagrams of the stations and his suggestions about where to place bombs to kill the most people in the planned attacks.
The people that Ahmed believed to be al Qaeda were actually undercover agents.
The warrant issued labeled an associate that accompanied Ahmed to do the surveillance but it was not expected that there would be another arrest.