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Man Admits to Plotting White House Attack

Hasher Jallal Taheb indicated 'his obligation to engage in jihad'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2020 7:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Georgia man has pleaded guilty to plotting to attack the White House, which authorities say was just one of his targets. Hasher Jallal Taheb of Cumming had been under investigation for close to a year when he was arrested in an FBI sting operation in January 2019. He'd presented a sketch of the White House and described the weapons he'd use before agreeing to receive semi-automatic rifles, explosives, and an anti-tank weapon, authorities say, per NBC News. In March 2018, agents had received a tip that Taheb, 23, had been radicalized and planned to travel abroad. He later indicated he couldn't travel to Islamic State territory because he didn't have a passport but would carry out an attack on US soil "as part of what he claimed was his obligation to engage in jihad," says Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

The White House and the Statue of Liberty were his initial targets, though he later included the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and a synagogue, say authorities, who believe Taheb worked alone. "Taheb hatched a dangerous plan that would have resulted in unimaginable injury," US Attorney BJay Pak says, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Federal public defenders argued Taheb—who lived with his mother, earned $8.15 an hour at a car wash, and had never before fired a gun—was baited. "This fantastical plan could not be farther from reality," Vionnette Johnson said at a January 2019 bond hearing. "He does not have the ability to do any of this." Taheb pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to destroy a federal building on Wednesday with prosecutors recommending a sentence of 15 years. Sentencing is set for June 23. (Read more terror plots stories.)

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