An Ashburn man who federal prosecutors said plotted to “kill as many Americans as possible” by bombing Washington Metro stations was sentenced Monday to 23 years in prison.
Farooque Ahmed, 35, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, pleaded guilty to two terrorism-related charges in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Federal authorities said Ahmed conspired with people he thought were al-Qaeda operatives to bomb Metrorail stations at Arlington Cemetery, Pentagon City, Crystal City and Court House. In reality, he was dealing with people working for the U.S. government.
According to court documents, Ahmed “surveilled, photographed, videotaped, diagramed” and helped gather information to plan “multiple bombings to cause mass casualties” at Metrorail stations.
Federal authorities arrested Farooque Ahmed, a 34-year-old Pakistani American, this week for an alleged plot to bomb Metrorail stations in Northern Virginia. In court papers, they say Ahmed became a willing participant in the bombing plot. He conducted surveillance and reconnaissance and suggested ways to generate the most casualties, the papers say. FBI agents were tipped off to Ahmed in January, when a source inside the Muslim community said the 34-year-old telecommunications worker was asking around, trying to join a terrorist group and kill Americans overseas, the officials said.
Farooque Ahmed, was a firebrand whose conservative views sometimes clashed with others at the Sterling mosque where he worshiped, leaders there said Friday. Ahmed, 34, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, went only occasionally to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) center to pray, and he rarely lingered or socialized. But he was not shy about making his beliefs known, leaders said. “We strongly believe the [tipster] was a member of this community,” said ADAMS board member Robert Marro. The mosque officials declined to name him. This sting underscores Muslims’ complex relationship with FBI.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, local mosques have taken pains to show how willing they are to cooperate with authorities. They have invited the FBI to dinners, have given agents awards and now hold quarterly meetings with agents to communicate and build relationships. Those same FBI agents are also the ones they often call to report hate crimes, vandalism and other manifestations of Islamaphobia.