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An FBI agent has testified that a Massachusetts man accused of plotting to fly explosive-packed remote-controlled planes into the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol said it was his "mission" to hurt the United States, which he called "an evil land" and "an enemy to Islam."
The testimony came Friday during a bail hearing for Rezwan Ferdaus. The 26-year-old Ashland man is accused of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and attempting to damage and destroy national defense premises.
FBI agent Bradley Davis said Ferdaus asked undercover FBI employees posing as members of al-Qaida to get him C-4 explosives, AK-47s and grenades so he could carry out the attacks.
But defense lawyers raised questions about the government sting that led to Ferdaus' arrest in September.
During cross-examination by Ferdaus' lawyer, Davis acknowledged that Ferdaus told the undercover employees he was anxious, depressed and having "intrusive thoughts" in the month before his arrest.
The agent said he was unaware of Ferdaus' long history of psychological problems. He also acknowledged that a key witness in the case has a history of lying.
The bail question will not be settled until later this month. The judge has scheduled the hearing to resume on Nov. 14.
Outside the Worcester courthouse, Daoud Ali, a member of the Islamic Center of Worcester, said it's unacceptable to learn the FBI sent its informant — an accused drug dealer and addict — into the Islamic center to look for Ferdaus.
"I don't want these people around my children, around my fellow Muslims praying," Ali said. "The fact that they are doing this I think is deplorable enough, but I think particularly reprehensible in this case is that Rezwan Ferdaus was suffering — or maybe still now, suffering — psychiatric issues."
With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press
This program aired on November 4, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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