(Updates with additional comments from federal law enforcement official starting in second paragraph.)
Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- An undercover terrorism investigation led to an arrest near the U.S. Capitol of a suspect who sought to use explosives that had been made “inoperable,” federal authorities said.
The Capitol was the suspect’s intended target, according to a federal law enforcement official who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
“Explosives the suspect allegedly sought to use in connection with the plot had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public,” Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said in an e-mailed statement today.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride in Alexandria, Virginia, said in an e-mail the arrest resulted from an undercover terrorism investigation during which the suspect was “closely monitored by law enforcement.”
The suspect is a man in his late 20s and a non-U.S. citizen who was in this country illegally after overstaying his visa, according to the federal law enforcement official.
The individual was arrested “in the area of the U.S. Capitol,” Capitol Police spokeswoman Kimberly A. Schneider said in an e-mail, adding that Capitol Police worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on “a lengthy and extensive operation.”
The suspect has been under surveillance since the beginning of December after the FBI received information about views he was expressing, the federal law enforcement official said. The suspect was operating by himself and didn’t have ties to foreign terror groups, though he believed he was operating with one during the investigation, the official said.
--With assistance from Tom Schoenberg in Washington. Editors: Jodi Schneider, Laurie Asseo
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