Washington Terror Plot Thwarted

An undercover FBI operation successfully stopped a suspected suicide bomber.
3:48 | 02/18/12

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Transcript for Washington Terror Plot Thwarted
ABC news learning new details about the suspected suicide bomber on a mission to attack. The very heart of our democracy -- US capitol building ABC's Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas has been on this story since it broke here good morning to you. -- -- FBI officials are confident the evidence is clear they say the suspect had deadly intentions. Plot a suicide bombing targeting the US capitol. The FBI says 29 year old -- -- outcome leafy a Moroccan national wanted to kill as many tourists and government employees as he could. Police he was arrested just two blocks from the US capitol. He parked his van and met undercover agents posing -- al-Qaeda terrorists he was given an automatic weapon and what he thought was an explosive suicide vest. The FBI took him into custody and seized complete these -- of the parking garage. On Friday they searched a home in suburban Virginia Coca -- he had met with undercover -- -- Mikulski you know and -- yeah. Prosecutors say -- -- he was angry because he thought the US -- terrorism was really a war on Muslims. But it was all the -- the FBI had been tipped off by an associate the suicide vest harmless the gun -- not to work. The FBI has arrested more than fifty suspected radicals in the US in the last three years. Sources say the case is represented a sobering reminder that there's a pool of dangerous. So called lone wolves. And then one official told me what concerns him is that somebody like a -- while come to the FBI's attention until it's too late. That is of course a huge concern here thank you for your coverage this morning for more on this we brought in -- -- and was a former FBI speculating he was a member of the Al qaeda's but here in New York City. Good morning thanks for -- -- Could see you let me play devil's advocate how much of a threat was this man really if he needed help from federal officials in order carry out his plot. I think the FBI's been very straightforward and that I think they had this eliminated from the very get go. When you have time and have good. Actionable intelligence -- you have control the probability of success in preventing an episode like this from occurring is huge so they had control from the very very outset. The problem I see is that we don't know if there are more people out there like this other ten out of twenty that's the conundrum -- That's -- I mean obviously -- thing to keep people up at night but let me just -- back to this individual how could -- not know -- -- year that the people he was dealing -- -- not. Al-Qaeda operative but in fact undercover operatives to the FB. Haven't spoken with -- was with suicide bombers myself I can tell you that they're thinking is irrational. They are so consumed by hate hate doesn't have borders doesn't respect borders and they get sucked into this frankly. And again -- your initial question I don't think that there was a chance that this was going to be carried out but you can never ever be laissez Faire about this at all we've seen. Since then eleven was in a lot of cases like this where FBI agents get involved week undercover agents get involved -- wanna be or suspected wannabe terrorists. And the defense often is from the defense attorney Mike I never would have done this it wasn't egged on by federal officials what's that what's that pushed back. That -- to push back is simply this these have a case -- -- a time line. And if the subject -- pre disposed. That'll come forward and the FBI looked at this. They had over -- he went and got a gun he when did surveillance these overt acts that get beyond that point of whether or not he was. Question this and that's really what -- it'll be litigated in court but frankly. The FBI's been very good at this and very very successful and that's what we want them to do we want them to be very proactive. Somebody do something right no attack since nine elevenths. Think it on American -- thank you very much for -- coming in this morning we appreciate your expertise.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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