A 35-year-old Virgina man who thought he was assisting members of al-Qaeda plan bombings of the D.C. Metro system was sentenced on Monday to 23 years in prison followed by 50 years of supervised release.
Farooque Ahmed pleaded guilty to charges which stemmed from his attempts to assist others that he believed were members of al-Qaeda, but were actually undercover FBI agents. Ahmed was arrested back in October after he handed over a thumb drive containing surveillance of a Metro system to an undercover agent he thought was affiliated with al-Qaeda.
The statement of facts in Ahmed’s case revealed more information about how the FBI sting operation worked. Ahmed drove to a hotel near the Washington-Dulles International Airport on April 18, 2010, and received a document inside of a Koran that provided code words for potential locations for future meetings. Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, met with an individual he thought was a terrorist operator at a hotel in May and said he was willing to become a martyr. He said he might be ready to go overseas in January 2011 after the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in November 2010.
Ahmed also agreed to conduct surveillance of the Arlington Cemetery Metro station, which he filmed with a mobile phone video camera and turned over to the man he thought was an al-Qaeda operative on a thumbnail drive. Ahmed later suggested an attack on Crystal City Metro station, and agreed to provide the bombers with Metrocards. He conducted surveillance of the station on Oct. 21, 2010. He passed along a thumbnail drive with surveillance of the Crystal City Metro station on Oct. 27 to an FBI agent he thought was affiliated with al-Qaeda on Oct. 27, when he was taken into custody.
“This individual followed a twisted, radical ideology outside that of the mainstream Muslim community which led him to break the law,” James W. McJunkin, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said in a statement. “He now faces the consequences of his actions. The FBI remains committed to disrupting possible terrorist plots and individuals who seek to assist terrorist organizations.”
Attorney General Eric Holder has defended the FBI’s sting tactics and said that those who characterize the FBI’s actions as entrapment “simply do not have their facts straight or do not have a full understanding of the law.”