A Pakistani-born American citizen was charged Wednesday in Virginia for plotting a terrorist bombing. The man, 34-year-old Farooque Ahmed, planned to target the Washington DC subway system.

FBI agents stressed that America was never in danger from Ahmed's plot. While Ahmed believed he was communicating with Al-Qaeda operatives to plan the attack, he was in fact dealing with FBI agents, they said.

Ahmed was charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, collecting intelligence to help plan a terrorist attack on a transit facility, and attempting to provide material support to help carry out multiple bombings to cause mass casualties. If convicted, he could face up to 50 years in prison.

He is accused of agreeing to carry out surveillance of the subway station in Arlington, Virginia, and of suggesting a plan to put bombs on trains. He allegedly planned to plant explosives where they would kill as many people as possible.

US Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kirs said, “Today's case underscores the need for continued vigilance against terrorist threats and demonstrates how the government can neutralize such threats before they come to fruition. Farooque Ahmed is accused of plotting with individuals he believed were terrorists to bomb our transit system, but a co-ordinated law enforcement and intelligence effort was able to thwart his plans."