Arrest in Metro terror sting
Update 6pm: Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn told the Post that he knew about the FBI sting involving a man who thought he was helping terrorists plan to bomb Metro stations, and had stated to a reporter yesterday that he was unaware of the investigation because he did not want to "jeopardize" any law enforcement activity.
Taborn said at a press conference at Metro headquarters on Wednesday that Metro police were informed of the FBI investigation once it focused on the transit system. "At the time the investigation centered around the Metro system, we were made aware of that," he said.
Taborn said Metro had an officer assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and that officer briefed him daily.
"We have been working with the FBI all along," he said.
Earlier: An Ashburn man was arrested today for attempting to assist people he thought were al Queda members to plan bombings of Metro stations, federal authorities said.
But even as various federal officials touted a synchronized and controlled operation, Metro's chief of police said yesterday he knew nothing of it.
Contacted late Tuesday, Metro Transit Police Chief Michael A. Taborn said he had not heard anything about a potential terrorist plot on Metro.
"Oh, is that right? he said when asked. "I hadn't heard anything about it," Taborn said.
The investigation is focused on Farooque Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Pakistan, who became the target of an undercover sting operation, sources told Washington Post security writers.
Ahmed appeared at 2pm in Alexandria federal court.
In a statement issued at 2:08 reacting to the news, Metro assured customers that at no time were they in danger and highlighted some of its security efforts.
"Earlier this year, the MTPD launched Blue TIDE as a new initiative aimed at deterring terrorist activity in the Metro system. Blue TIDE--Terrorism Identification and Deterrence Effort--includes a large number of MTPD officers who team with law enforcement officers from other agencies to conduct major, high-visibility, anti-terrorism show of force at stations. Metro also participates in Operation Rail Safe, a multi-force, multi-agency security surge throughout the Northeast Corridor," it said in a statement.
Metro recently received a nearly $10 million Transit Security Grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
"It's chilling that a man from Ashburn is accused of casing rail stations with the goal of killing as many Metro riders as possible through simultaneous bomb attacks," U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said in a statement.
"Today's arrest highlights the terrorism threat that exists in Northern Virginia and our ability to find those seeking to harm U.S. citizens and neutralize them before they can act. We are grateful for the outstanding work of the FBI in detecting and disrupting this plot."
--Ann Scott Tyson
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Past terrorism-related WMATA stories:
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