Arrested Wednesday for aiding in what he thought was a plot to bomb and kill commuters in Washington, DC, Farooque Ahmed, a Pakistani-born resident of Virginia, is being tried in a US district court today in Alexandria.

The plot itself was a ruse in which Ahmed willingly handed over video surveillance of stations in the DC Metro system on four occasions, along with locations and times where the most commuters would be affected. Ahmed thought he was working with international al-Qaeda operatives, who later turned out to be agents working on behalf of the US government.

The FBI maintains that the public was never in danger because the agency had monitored all of Ahmed’s actions extensively. In response to the arrest however, the NYPD has released a warning to law enforcement in New York, emphasizing the desire of extremists to target busy systems of public transportation.

According to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama was aware of the investigation before the arrest of Ahmed this week. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, David Kris commented on the success of the government in neutralizing such threats before they come to fruition, saying, “Farooque Ahmed is accused of plotting with individuals he believed were terrorists to bomb our transit system, but a coordinated law enforcement and intelligence effort was able to thwart his plans.”

Ahmed, who works for a telecommunications company, has not entered a plea to the charges; he could face up to 50 years of prison if convicted.

Speaking to undercover operatives, he had also expressed his readiness to die as a martyr abroad and that he had completed training in martial arts, firearms use, and knife and gun tactics and was ready to teach these skills to others.

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