They were scheduled to make initial court appearances Thursday on terrorism and firearms charges.
The building, the Military Entrance Processing Station on East Marginal Way in Seattle, also houses a daycare. Recruits for all military branches are screened and processed there.
Agents became aware of the plot through someone the men tried to recruit as a participant and monitored the plot. The weapons the men purchased had been rendered inoperable, the government said.
Investigators said they have video and audio recordings of the men discussing their plans to attack the station.
Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh are charged by complaint with conspiracy to murder officers and employees of the United States, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, and possession of firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. Abdul-Latif is also charged with two counts of illegal possession of firearms.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said the defendants initially planned to attack Joint Base Lewis-McChord but later changed targets. The defendants intended to carry out their attack with both grenades and machine guns, the government said.
“The complaint alleges these men intended to carry out a deadly attack against our military where they should be most safe, here at home,” Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a news release. “This is a sobering reminder of our need to be vigilant and that our first line of defense is the people who live in our community. We were able to disrupt the plot because someone stepped forward and reported it to authorities.”