A Pakistani-American man has been arrested on charges he planned to bomb subway stations near Washington. He also is charged with sharing information with people he believed were affiliated with al-Qaida.
U.S. Justice Department officials say 34-year-old Farooque Ahmed had been taking photographs of subway stations in the Washington area since April and plotting multiple bombings. He was arrested Wednesday on charges including planning a terrorist attack on a transit facility and trying to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the public safety was never in jeopardy, since federal investigators were closely watching the man's activities. "This is another important example of work by the FBI, by all levels of our law enforcement, and by our national security team, to keep our country safe. Those groups have been on top of this case from the beginning, and at no point was the public in any danger."
Gibbs said President Barack Obama was aware of the case before the arrest was made.
The indictment says Ahmed participated in surveillance, and he recorded video images of subway stations in Arlington, Virginia, on four occasions. Arlington is the home of the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery.
Ahmed also is charged with meeting several times with people he believed were tied to al-Qaida, and giving them information on his surveillance.
Ahmed is a native of Pakistan and a naturalized U.S. citizen.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.