Federal investigators announced this evening that a joint terrorism task force, led by the FBI, arrested Hasher Jallal Taheb, 21, after an investigation showed he planned an imminent terrorist attack against the White House and several other federal buildings in Washington, D.C. The attack on the White House was planned for Thursday, Jan. 17.
“His alleged intent was to attack the White House and other targets of opportunity in the Washington, D.C. area,” U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak said.
Police were tipped off about Taheb in March 2018 by a member of the Islamic community who stated that Taheb had become radicalized, changed his name, and made plans to travel abroad.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Taheb in federal court, he wanted to travel overseas for “hijrai,” which is a term used to describe going to the territory controlled by ISIS.
After attempting to sell his car to help fund his travels, he told a confidential source that “he wished to conduct an attack in the United States against targets such as the White House and the Statue of Liberty.”
In Dec. 2018, the complaint says Taheb, who lived in the Atlanta suburb of Cumming, met with an undercover agent and he showed the agent “a hand-drawn diagram of the ground floor of the West Wing of the White House” and “described his plan for attacking the West Wing.”
During that meeting, the complaint says Taheb discussed selling his car to buy weapons and explosives and detailed the types of weapons he wanted to buy to use in the attack.
A week later, he met with the undercover agent again and “broadened his prospective targets in the Washington, D.C. area and indicated he wished to attack the Washington Monument, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and a specific synagogue.”
Taheb also outlined the weapons he wanted to purchase during that meeting, which included semi-automatic weapons, improvised explosive devices, an anti-tank rocket and hand grenades.
After several meetings and messaging back and forth with the confidential source and undercover agent, the complaint said Taheb had planned on attacking the White House on Jan. 17.
Taheb explained that the group would attack the White House by approaching from the back road, causing a distraction for police, and then proceeding into the White House. According to Taheb, the (anti-tank rocket) would be used to open a door and move in. Taheb said he planned to get as many people as possible and do the most damage. Taheb specifically noted the areas where the Secret Service and Homeland Security operated in the White House.”
Agents arranged to meet with Taheb Wednesday and took him into custody.
“Taheb is charged as the result of a year-long investigation by FBI Atlanta’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. We want to thank the Forsyth County Sheriff Office and Gwinnett County Police Department for assisting us with his arrest. The investigation is continuing, but at this stage it is believed Taheb was acting on his own,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta.