A 21-year-old Cumming, Georgia man has been charged with planning a “mass casualty” attack on the White House and other locations in Washington, D.C., according to federal prosecutors.
U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak made the announcement on the steps of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Downtown Atlanta, Wednesday.
According to Pak, law enforcement arrested Hasher Taheb after a year-long investigation by the Atlanta Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the FBI.
The investigation, Pak said, began after a tip from someone in the community. It claims that Taheb planned to use explosive devices and an anti-tank rocket to carry out his attack.
At this time, Pak said they believe Taheb was acting alone and “all potential threats have been neutralized.” Pak stressed there was never any threat against Georgia or the upcoming Super Bowl.
Taheb has been charged with violating Title 18USC 844(f)(1), an “attempt to damage by means of an explosive any building owned, possessed, or leased by the United States or any department or agency thereof, or any institution or organization receiving federal financial assistance.”
Federal prosecutors said they will now present their case to a grand jury.
According to the affidavit of FBI special agent Tyler S. Krueger, Taheb was planning to buy supplies from Columbus.
“On or about December 9, 2018, Taheb texted Undercover Employee (UCE) #1 and asked, “…How’s grocery shopping?” UCE #1 replied, “… I made initial contacts. Just getting started. I’m gonna need to go down to Columbus at some point to keep up the shopping momentum…” When UCE #1 asked Taheb how “game day planning” was going, Taheb replied, “It’s coming along well…” and offered to go with UCE #1 to Columbus, Georgia, to pursue the weapons and explosives Taheb had tasked UCE #1 to obtain.“
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and the Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker of the FBI Atlanta Field Office have released the following statements in regards to the arrest of Hasher Taheb:
U.S. Attorney Pak:
“Investigating and prosecuting individuals who seek to cause mass casualties is law enforcement’s top priority. Today, the Joint Terrorism Task Force partners, led by the FBI, arrested Hasher Taheb, 21, of Cumming, Georgia after a thorough investigation into his plans to attack federal buildings. As articulated in the affidavit supporting the complaint, his alleged intent was to attack the White House and other targets of opportunity in the Washington DC area. Mr. Taheb has been charged with violating Title 18USC 844(f)(1) — attempt to damage by means of an explosive any building owned, possessed, or leased by the United States or any department or agency thereof, or any institution or organization receiving federal financial assistance. The JTTF initiated the case after receiving a tip from the community. Because the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and numerous Federal, state and law enforcement partners are active participants in the JTTF, all potential threats have been neutralized and were under control from the inception of this case. Again, I want to clarify that there were no threats posed to any targets located in Northern District of Georgia, nor was the upcoming Super Bowl a target of his alleged activity,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
“It is important to point out that this investigation and arrest were the direct result of a tip from the community, another example of how important it is to contact law enforcement if you see or hear something suspicious,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “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.”