Date: October 17, 2012
Source: Fox News
Abstract: Federal authorities arrested a Bangladeshi national Wednesday morning for allegedly plotting to blow up a Federal Reserve Bank in New York City's lower Manhattan, mere blocks away from the site of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. The bank is one of 12 branches around the country.
The 21-year-old suspect, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, attempted to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb in front of the Fed building on Liberty Street, but the device was a fake supplied to him by undercover FBI agents who had been tracking his activity, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force said Wednesday afternoon.
The supposed explosives posed no threat to the public, the FBI said.
A criminal complaint accuses Nafis of having overseas connections to Al Qaeda and travelling to the U.S. in January to recruit individuals to form a terrorist cell and conduct an attack on American soil. He came under the guise of going to school in Missouri on a student visa. One of Nafis' potential recruits was an FBI source, who alerted authorities, the FBI said.
A federal law enforcement official told Fox News that there was no evidence Nafis was directed by Al Qaeda to carry out this attack, though he appears to have thought he was working for the terrorist group.
At one point, according to criminal complaint, Nafis told undercover agents: "I don't want something that's like, small. I just want something big. Something very big ... that will shake the whole country, that will make America, not one step ahead, change of policy, and make one step ahead, for the Muslims ... that will make us one step closer to run the whole world."
A U.S. official told Fox News that President Obama was Nafis' first target, but the criminal complaint only refers to "a high-ranking official." The complaint also mentions the New York Stock Exchange as a proposed target.
The FBI cites a written statement obtained from Nafis in which he said he wanted to "destroy America" and determined that the best way to achieve that goal was to target the economy. He also referenced quotes from "our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden."
Nafis appeared in federal court in Brooklyn to face charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda. Wearing a brown T-shirt and black jeans, he was ordered held without bail and did not enter a plea. His defense attorney had no comment outside court.
"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure," FBI Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge Galligan said. "The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences."
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly noted that there have been 15 terrorist plots targeting the city since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."Al Qaeda operatives and those they have inspired have tried time and again to make New York City their killing field," Kelly said. "After 11 years without a successful attack, it's understandable if the public becomes complacent. But that's a luxury law enforcement can't afford" (Fox News, 2012).
Title: AP: Suspect In Foiled Fed Bank Plot Considered Obama As Target
Date: October 17, 2012
Source: My Fox Orlando
Abstract: Federal agents and detectives arrested a man who allegedly tried to blow up a van outside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Wednesday morning, authorities said.
The man, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, a Bangladeshi national who lives in Queens, parked a van full of what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb outside the Fed building on Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan -- just blocks from the World Trade Center site -- Wednesday morning and set off a cell phone detonator, according to the Department of Justice.
But the van did not blow up because the so-called explosives were not real and were provided by an undercover FBI agent, the DOJ said.
A law enforcement official says President Barack Obama was also a potential target for Nafis, reported the Associated Press on Thursday.
The official stressed that the suspect never got beyond the discussion stage.
The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation and talked to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Authorities have said the Bangladeshi man snared in an FBI terror sting also considered targeting the New York Stock Exchange before picking one of New York City's most fortified sites.
"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure," Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan said in a statement. "The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences. It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant's 'accomplices' were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism."
The suspect and the agent had been planning the attack for months, the DOJ said. Agents with the Joint Terrorism task Force closely monitored Nafis and the plot.
Nafis came to the United States in January 2012 to recruit people to form a terrorist cell and to carry out an attack on U.S. soil, the DOJ said. He claimed to have ties to al-Qaeda and sought out al-Qadea contacts in America to help him plan the attack, authorities said.
He wrote a statement that he intended to release after the attack to claim responsibility, authorities said. In the statement, Nafis wrote that he wanted to "destroy America" by targeting its economy, the DOJ said. He also quoted from Osama bin Laden in justifying what he assumed with be the killing of women and children, federal officials said.
Authorities charged Nafis with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda Authorities said the public was never in any danger.
Nafis came to the U.S. on a student visa to study at a college in Missouri, said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly. He studied at Southeast Missouri State University from January to May, the AP reported."To have someone come into the country in January, plot this thing going forward and actually make that chilling step of pressing that cell phone battery to do the detonation, that's the thing that Americans need to focus on. It's still there," former NYS Homeland Security Advisor Michael Balboni told Good Day New York on Thursday (My Fox Orlando, 2012).