“Another Damm Illegal Attempting to Kill Us” (This time it’s a Muslim)
By: Mike Levine
According to charging documents, he first entered the
country that year on a tourist visa, which expired and was never renewed.
Khalifi was charged Friday in U.S. District Court in northern Virginia with
attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
The suspect allegedly weighed hitting various targets
ranging from a military installation to synagogues to a Washington restaurant
before settling on the Capitol.
The man thought undercover FBI agents assisting him in his
plot were associates of Al Qaeda. He purchased bomb materials including
jackets, nails and glue in preparation for an attack. He even conducted a test
explosives demonstration in a quarry.
When he was arrested Friday in Washington, he was carrying
with him a vest that he had been led to believe was packed with explosives, but
the material inside was not actually dangerous, Fox News was told.
A short time earlier, Khalifi had been praying at a mosque
in the Washington area. His destination was Capitol Hill.
The public was never in danger, as he had been under
constant surveillance for some time, officials said. The FBI provided the
suspect with a disabled gun during their ongoing operation, Fox News has
The U.S. Capitol Police, in a statement that confirmed the
arrest but provided few details, said the suspect had been “closely and
A senior source involved with law enforcement at the Capitol
also told Fox News the investigation was “all very controlled.” The
source said the U.S. Capitol Police was involved with the FBI and other
agencies in tracking the suspect “not more than a year.”
A former landlord in Arlington said he believed El Khalifi
was suspicious and called police 18 months ago.
Frank Dynda said when he told El Khalifi to leave, the
suspect said he had a right to stay and threatened to beat up Dynda. Dynda said
he thought El Khalifi was making bombs, but police told him to leave the man
alone. Dynda had El Khalifi evicted in 2010.
El Khalifi had several men staying with him and based on
packages left for him, Dynda said, it appeared that he was running a luggage
business from the apartment, although Dynda never saw any bags.
“I reported to police I think he’s making bombs,”
Dynda said. “I was ready to get my shotgun and run him out of the
building, but that would have been a lot of trouble.”
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers in leadership positions had been
briefed on the investigation, though rank-and-file members did not appear to
have prior knowledge of the case.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., called the plot a “stark
reminder” of the dangers Americans face.
“I think it will encourage more of us to take the
tunnel. … Maybe we have to walk around with a little higher level of
paranoia,” Cleaver told Fox News.
Sites in Washington have long been a target for terrorists,
especially self-radicalized extremists caught in FBI stings.
In September, a Massachusetts man was arrested for allegedly
plotting to fly bomb-laden model planes into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. FBI
agents claiming to be associates of Al Qaeda provided 26-year-old Rezwan
Ferdaus with what he thought was explosive material for the remote-controlled
Nearly a year earlier, a Virginia man was arrested for
trying to help Al Qaeda plan multiple bombings against Washington’s Metrorail
system. For months, 34-year-old Farooque Ahmed of Ashburn, Va., had been
meeting and discussing “jihad” with individuals he thought were
affiliated with Al Qaeda, but in fact he was meeting with FBI agents.
In the past year alone, at least 20 people have been
arrested in the United States on terrorism-related charges, according to the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
“Most of the arrests” have involved “lone
wolves,” radicalized online and able to use the Internet to build bombs,
FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate committee last month.
At the time of Ahmed’s arrest in October 2010, the U.S.
Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil MacBride, said the case
showcases “our ability to find those seeking to harm U.S. citizens and
neutralize them before they can act.”