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A fence surrounds the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, on May 24, 2019.

The Associated Press

A Georgia man accused of plotting to attack the White House with an antitank rocket and explosives has pleaded guilty to a federal charge.

Hasher Jallal Taheb, 23, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of attempting to destroy, by fire or an explosive, a building owned by or leased to the United States, federal prosecutors said.

“Taheb hatched a dangerous plan that would have resulted in unimaginable injury,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said in an emailed statement. “We are grateful to community members who noticed his dangerous evolution and alerted law enforcement.”

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Local law enforcement reached out to the FBI in March 2018 after getting a tip from a community member saying Taheb had adopted radical ideas.

In conversations with undercover federal investigators in October 2018, Taheb mentioned plans to travel overseas and wanting to attack the White House and the Statue of Liberty, prosecutors said. During meetings in December 2018, he broadened his potential targets in the Washington, D.C., area to also include the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and a synagogue.

He then produced sketches he had made of the White House, described a detailed plan to attack it and described weapons and explosives he wanted to use, including semi-automatic weapons, improvised explosive devices, an anti-tank weapon, and hand grenades.

Federal agents arrested Taheb on Jan. 16, 2019, when he showed up for a meeting with an undercover agent and an FBI source thinking they were going to rent a car and trade their vehicles for weapons, with the intention of driving to Washington, D.C., to carry out the attack, prosecutors have said.

After Taheb loaded the weapons into the rental vehicle and climbed into the passenger seat, agents arrested him, according to a court filing.

Taheb is scheduled to be sentenced June 23.

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