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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Law Enforcement And Prosecutors Receive Award For Case Involving Thwarted Capitol Hill Suicide Bomber

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Federal prosecutors and members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force were honored yesterday with the Anti-Defamation League’s SHIELD Award for their role in the investigation and prosecution of Amine El-Khalifi, a Virginia man who attempted to carry out a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol Building in February 2012.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, accepted the award on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and he was joined by Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office.

According to court records and statements made in court, El-Khalifi sought to be associated with an armed extremist group, and in December 2011, he was introduced by a man he knew as “Hussien” to an individual named “Yusuf,” who was, in reality, an undercover law enforcement officer.  Throughout December 2011 and January 2012, El-Khalifi proposed to carry out a bombing attack, and on Jan. 15, 2012, El-Khalifi stated that he had decided to conduct a suicide attack at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Over the next month, El-Khalifi traveled to the U.S. Capitol Building several times to conduct surveillance, choosing the spot where he would be dropped off to enter the building, the specific time for the attack and the method he would use to avoid law enforcement detection.  El-Khalifi also asked Hussien to remotely detonate the bomb he would be wearing on the day of the attack if El-Khalifi encountered problems with security officers, and to provide El-Khalifi with a gun that he could use during the attack to shoot any officers who might attempt to stop him.

On Feb. 17, 2012, El-Khalifi traveled to a parking garage near the U.S. Capitol Building. El-Khalifi took possession of a MAC-10 automatic weapon and put on a vest containing what he believed to be a functioning bomb.  Unbeknownst to El-Khalifi, both the weapon and the bomb had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement.  El-Khalifi walked alone from the vehicle toward the U.S. Capitol, where he intended to shoot people and detonate the bomb.  El-Khalifi was arrested and taken into custody before exiting the parking garage.

El-Khalifi pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction on June 22, 2012.  He was sentenced on September 14, 2012, to 30 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Gordon Kromberg and Michael Ben’Ary of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as Trial Attorneys Joseph Kaster and Courtney Sullivan from the Justice Department’s National Security Division, prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

According to a press release issued by the Anti-Defamation League, the SHIELD Awards were created to honor law enforcement efforts in “major cases involving hate crimes, violent extremism and terrorism and bringing those responsible to justice. . . . The Award’s name reflects law enforcement’s role as protectors, and is also an acronym for the core values of the profession: Service, Honor, Integrity, Excellence, Leadership, and Dedication.”

A copy of this press release, along with prior releases relating to this case, may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on

Updated March 18, 2015