Amine El Khalifi, 29, who is from Morocco and living in the United States illegally, was arrested in a parking garage several blocks from the Capitol, carrying a vest that was supposed to be packed with explosives but actually posed no risk to the public, federal prosecutors said. He was also carrying a gun that he allegedly planned to use on any officers who tried to stop him.
The arrest was the culmination of an undercover operation and he was being closely monitored by the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department said. El Khalifi allegedly thought undercover FBI agents assisting him were members of al-Qaida.
U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said El Khalifi "devised the plot, the targets and the methods on his own."
Prosecutors said El Khalifi had also proposed attacks on a building that contained U.S. military offices, as well as a synagogue and a restaurant frequented by military officials.