Georgia man accused of White House attack plot gets 15 years

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia man accused of plotting to attack the White House with an antitank rocket and explosives was sentenced Thursday to serve 15 years in prison, according to online court records.

Hasher Jallal Taheb had pleaded guilty in April to attempted destruction of government property by fire or explosive. His prison sentence is to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Taheb had made clear that his “goal in acquiring numerous weapons and explosives to attack the White House was to ‘do as much damage as possible,’ to become a ‘martyr,’ to fight to the end and make a big bang, to enter the White House and take down as many people as possible,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo filed with the court.

Local law enforcement reached out to the FBI in March 2018 after getting a tip from a community member saying Taheb had adopted radical ideas.

In conversations with undercover federal investigators in October 2018, Taheb mentioned plans to travel overseas and wanting to attack the White House and the Statue of Liberty, prosecutors have said. During meetings in December 2018, he broadened his potential targets in the Washington, D.C., area to also include the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and a synagogue.

He then produced sketches he had made of the White House, described a detailed plan to attack it and described weapons and explosives he wanted to use, including semi-automatic weapons, improvised explosive devices, an anti-tank weapon, and hand grenades.

Federal agents arrested Taheb on Jan. 16, 2019 in Buford, Georgia, when he showed up for a meeting with an undercover agent and an FBI source thinking they were going to rent a car and trade their vehicles for weapons, with the intention of driving to Washington, D.C., to carry out the attack, prosecutors have said.

After Taheb loaded the weapons into the rental vehicle and climbed into the passenger seat, agents arrested him, according to a court filing.

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