A man from Alexandria, VA., was sentenced last week for his efforts to carry out a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol Building in February 2012, following an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Amine El-Khalifi sought to bring down the U.S. Capitol, one of our nation’s iconic symbols,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride. “Since 9/11, our mission has been to find terrorists intent on attacking the United States before they act. On his own initiative, a man living right here in Alexandria selected the target and date of his suicide attack, and engaged in surveillance to ensure that his attack caused maximum casualties. Thanks to the steadfast work of the FBI, undercover officers were in position to ensure that Mr. El-Khalifi’s murderous plot failed.”
According to court records, a confidential informant reported that El-Khalifi responded to a Facebook post that sought interest in joining the mujahideen and asked the poster to contact him. Several months later, in January 2011, another confidential informant reported that El-Khalifi met with several individuals at an Arlington, Va., residence, where El-Khalifi allegedly agreed with a statement that the “war on terrorism” was a “war on Muslims” and the men needed to be ready for war.
Between December 2011 and January 2012, El-Khalifi allegedly proposed an idea to an undercover law enforcement officer involving bombing attacks on a building that housed U.S. military offices, a synagogue, U.S. Army generals and a restaurant frequented by military officials.
At meetings with the undercover officer, El-Khalifi discussed the possibility of performing an operation in which he would use a gun to kill people face-to-face. At a meeting on Jan. 15, 2012, El-Khalifi stated to the undercover officer that his plan had been modified and that he wanted to conduct a suicide attack at the U.S. Capitol Building.
Between January 2012 and February 2012, El-Khalifi visited the U.S. Capitol Building several times to conduct surveillance. On Feb. 17, 2012, El-Khalifl traveled to the Capitol Building, took possession of an automatic weapon and put on a vest containing what he thought was a functioning bomb. In reality, law enforcement officers had rendered the gun and the vest inoperable. Before exiting the parking garage, El-Khalifi was arrested and taken into custody.
El-Khalifi was sentenced last week to 30 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.
“Amine El-Khalifi sought to do harm to countless numbers of innocent victims but, through the excellent investigative work of our Joint Terrorism Task Force, this threat was successfully mitigated,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Today’s sentence is the result of the dedicated effort and partnership of prosecutors and the Special Agents, analysts and task force officers from our partner law enforcement agencies that make up the JTTF.”