A 23-year-old American man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for planning an attack on the White House with an anti-tank missile and other explosives, US authorities said Thursday.
Hasher Taheb of Cumming, Georgia also made plans for attacks on the Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and a Washington-area synagogue, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
He was arrested on 16 January 2019 after a yearlong FBI investigation sparked by a tip from the local community that the 21-year-old had become “radicalised.”
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According to the original indictment, Taheb tried to recruit an informant and an undercover FBI agent into his plan to attack the White House and other monuments and targets.
“Taheb planned to conduct a terrorist attack on the White House as part of what he claimed was his obligation to engage in jihad,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers.
Wanting to fulfill that “duty” and expecting to become a “martyr,” Taheb originally hoped to travel to Islamic State-held territory in the Middle East, he told the FBI source, the indictment said.
But because he lacked a passport, Taheb told the informant it would be better to launch attacks inside the United States.
On 7 December 2018, he met the undercover agent and revealed a hand-drawn diagram of the White House West Wing, where the president’s office is located.
In the subsequent weeks, Taheb detailed what weapons he wanted to acquire for the plot, and assigned the FBI agent to obtain them: semi-automatic weapons, grenades, and an AT-4 shoulder-mounted anti-tank weapon.
When Taheb took the delivery of the weapons, he was arrested.
According to judicial authorities, none of Taheb’s listed targets were ever truly threatened by the plot.