Monday, April 11, 2011

DC Metro Bomber Pleads Guilty

According to CNN, Farooque Ahmed, the individual accused of plotting to bomb the Washington D.C. Metro, has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. After apologizing for his actions and telling the court "[i]t was the wrong action," Ahmed was sentenced to 23 years in prison and 50 years of supervised release.

Ahmed had pleaded not guilty last year. In changing his plea, he admitted that he attempted to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization. He also pleaded guilty to collecting information to assist in planning a terrorist attack on a transit facility.

In court documents, Ahmed admitted performing surveillance at Metro stations near the Pentagon, taking videos and making diagrams of possible places to locate bombs. He suggested between 4 and 5 p.m. "would be the best time to stage an attack to cause the highest number of casualties" in several simultaneous explosions, according to a statement of facts signed by Ahmed.

Prosecutors said Ahmed thought he was helping members of al Qaeda, but in reality he was providing information to people working for the U.S. government...

U.S. officials believe that Ahmed was working alone, MacBride said, and that the public was never in danger because his activities were being closely monitored.

Federal public defender Kenneth Troccoli said Ahmed accepted full responsibility for his actions. Troccoli suggested one of the reasons Ahmed might have been drawn into plotting terrorism was that Muslims are constantly hearing messages urging radical action.

"That can unfortunately create resentment and a feeling among believers of Islam that they are not truly Islamic unless they do some of these things," Troccoli said.

Authorities found three weapons at Ahmed's home at the time of his arrest in late October: a Smith & Wesson pistol, a 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun and a Remington rifle, along with ammunition.

Also discovered was a biography of American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

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