Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Terrorism: Man admits to plotting attacks on the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
District of Massachusetts

BOSTON—In a written agreement filed today in U.S. District Court in Boston, Rezwan Ferdaus, aka Dave Winfield, aka Jon Ramos, has agreed to plead guilty to attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

He has also agreed to a joint sentencing recommendation of 17 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. In exchange, the government has agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against Ferdaus at the time of sentencing. The parties have filed a joint motion asking the court to schedule a change-of-plea hearing. The plea agreement filed today is subject to review and acceptance by the district court. A date for the change-of-plea hearing has not yet been set.

In September 2011, Ferdaus, 26, was arrested in connection with his plot to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol using large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives. He was later charged in a six-count indictment with attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive; attempting to damage and destroy national defense premises; receipt of explosive materials; receipt of possession of non-registered firearms (six fully automatic AK-47 assault rifles and three grenades); attempting to provide material support to terrorists; and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (al Qaeda).

The government has previously alleged that in 2010, and continuing until his arrest, he planned to commit acts of violence against the United States. With the goal of terrorizing the United States, decapitating its “military center,” and killing as many “kafirs” (an Arabic term meaning non-believers) as possible, Ferdaus extensively planned and took substantial steps to bomb the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol using remote controlled aircraft filled with explosives.

On September 28, 2011, Ferdaus requested and instructed the undercover FBI employees (UCE) to deliver explosives and firearms (material represented to Ferdaus to contain 25 pounds of C-4 explosives, including approximately 1.25 pounds of actual C-4 explosives, three grenades, and six fully automatic AK-47 assault rifles) for his attack plan. While inspecting the explosives and firearms in the UCEs’ vehicle and inside his storage unit, Ferdaus placed some of the explosives inside a remote controlled aircraft that he had ordered and obtained for his attack plan. Ferdaus then locked the explosives and firearms in his storage unit, at which time he was placed under arrest.

Ferdaus, a Northeastern University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in physics, began designing and constructing detonation components for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using mobile phones that were delivered to individuals whom he believed to be al Qaeda operatives. Ferdaus allegedly supplied 12 mobile phones, each of which had been modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED, to FBI undercover employees, who he believed were members of or recruiters for al Qaeda, to be used to kill American soldiers stationed overseas. On September 28, 2011, Ferdaus delivered four more detonation devices to individuals who he believed were al Qaeda operatives.

The public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were closely monitored by the UCs. The defendant was under surveillance as his alleged plot developed and the UCs were in frequent contact with him. More information about the case, including the indictment, affidavit, and other public documents, can be viewed at

First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Jack Pirozzolo and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistance was also provided by the Worcester, Ashland, and Framingham, Massachusetts Police Departments; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and Donald L. Cabell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.