The White House, Washington DC
The White House, Washington DC Photo by Bloomberg
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A Virginia man who believed he was trying to help Al-Qaida plan bombings at Washington area Metrorail stations was arrested on Wednesday, the Justice Department said.

Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, was taken into custody early in the morning, the department said in a statement.

"Officials emphasized that at no time was the public in danger during this investigation and that the FBI was aware of Ahmed's activities from before the alleged attempt began and closely monitored his activities until his arrest," it said.

The White House said the U.S. public had never been in danger from the arrested Virginia man.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said U.S. law enforcement agencies had been "on top of this case from the beginning."