Accused Pentagon plotter pleads not guilty

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 03, 2011 11:48 PM
Accused Pentagon plotter pleads not guilty

BOSTON (Reuters) - A Massachusetts man accused of plotting to attack U.S. targets using model aircraft, in a case that reignited concern about the risk of a home-grown militant attack, pleaded not guilty on Monday to the charges.

Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, was charged over the plot to fly three remote-control, explosives-laden aircraft into the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol and to follow up the attacks with a ground assault.

He was also accused of attempting to provide material support and resources to the global Islamist militant network al Qaeda to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers overseas.

Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen and resident of Ashland, Massachusetts, made the plea in U.S. district court in Worcester in his first public sighting since he was arrested on September 28 following a months-long undercover investigation led by the FBI.

A detention hearing for Ferdaus, a physics graduate from Northeastern University who was being held without bail, was postponed until October 20. Another status hearing was scheduled for November 14.

In its affidavit, U.S. authorities said Ferdaus was unwavering in his resolve to stage a violent "jihad." He told undercover agents who he thought were members of, or recruiters for, al Qaeda, that his goal was to kill as many "kafirs," or nonbelievers, as possible.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)