ATLANTA — A Georgia man was arrested Wednesday in connection with a plot to attack the White House with an armor-piercing rocket and explosive devices, US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJay Pak said.
Pak told reporters at a media briefing that Hasher Jallal Taheb, 21, planned to attack the White House using devices that included homemade explosives and an “anti-tank rocket.”
According to a criminal complaint, Taheb said the plan was to blow a hole in the White House with an AT4 then attack inside the building with semi-automatic rifles. He was going to wear a backpack with a homemade bomb in it and expected to become a martyr, the court document alleges. He expected two other people, who were actually an FBI undercover agent and an FBI confidential source, would join him in the attack, prosecutors said.
The suspect made a brief court appearance in Atlanta, where a federal judge explained the charge against him. His next appearance is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on January 24.
CNN tried to reach an attorney who represented Taheb in court but was unsuccessful. It is unclear whether he has a permanent attorney.
Taheb was investigated after local law enforcement received a tip from someone in Georgia where Taheb lived, in Cumming, just north of Atlanta, according to the complaint.
“Particularly, the community member noted that Taheb had become radicalized, changed his name, and made plans to travel abroad,” the complaint says.
Taheb met the FBI confidential source and later an undercover agent when the suspect was trying to sell his vehicle. Taheb allegedly told the source he wanted to travel to ISIS-controlled territory.
But Taheb didn’t have a US passport and began to make plans for jihad in the United States with possible targets of the White House and the Statue of Liberty, the complaint says.
Taheb told the undercover agent and the source at a meeting in December that if they stayed in the United States they could do more damage, an FBI agent wrote in the document.
A week later, the suspect described his plan to attack the West Wing of the White House to the undercover agent.
Taheb was arrested Wednesday as he thought he was going to trade vehicles for three rifles, three explosive devices and an anti-armor weapon, authorities said.
Chris Hacker, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Atlanta, said authorities don’t think anyone else was involved in the plot.