Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York
The Federal Reserve Bank in New York was the apparent target of a terror plot, officials said Wednesday.
October 17th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York

Editor's note: Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 21-year-old man, has been arrested on suspicion of planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, federal officials said. Authorities say he attempted to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb. Below are major developments as we received them. Read the full story here.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, of Bangladesh, is accused of planning a terrorist bombing in New York.

[Posted at 6:06 p.m. ET] Nafis, wearing street clothes and represented by a public defender, was arraigned a little while ago during a five-minute hearing in a New York courtroom. No bail application has been made. Prosecutors will have 30 days to officially indict him.

The public defender said she would not comment to reporters. Nafis will be held for now at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, U.S. attorneys say.

[Posted at 4:18 p.m. ET] Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department, released the following statement on the alleged plot:

"Whether al -Qaeda operatives like (2003 Brooklyn Bridge suspect) Iyman Faris or those inspired by them like (2011 suspect in bomb-making case) Jose Pimentel, terrorists have tried time and again to make New York City their killing field. We're up to 15 plots and counting since 9/11, with the Federal Reserve now added to a list of iconic targets that previously included the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, and Citicorp Center.

After 11 years without a successful attack, it's understanding if the public becomes complacent. But that's a luxury law enforcement can't afford.

Vigilance is our watchword now and into the foreseeable future. That's why we have over 1,000 police officers assigned to counter-terrorism duties every day, and why we built the Domain Awareness System. I want to commend the NYPD detectives and FBI agents of the Joint Terrorist Task Force for the work they did in the case and in other ways every day to help New York City safe from terrorists."

[Posted at 4:08 p.m. ET] U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch from the Eastern District of New York made the following statement regarding the alleged terror plot attack:

"As alleged in the complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan.

The defendant thought he was striking a blow to the American economy. He thought he was directing confederates and fellow believers. At every turn, he was wrong, and his extensive efforts to strike at the heart of the nation’s financial system were foiled by effective law enforcement.

We will use all of the tools at our disposal to stop any such attack before it can occur. We are committed to protecting the safety of all Americans, including the hundreds of thousands who work in New York’s financial district.

I would like to thank our partners at the FBI, NYPD, the other agencies who participate in the JTTF, and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, for their hard work on this important investigation. I would also like to thank the security teams at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the New York Stock Exchange for their assistance."

[Posted at 4:08 p.m. ET] Nafis appeared to have had a back-up plan.

He met an undercover agent that supplied him with what he thought were explosives on Wednesday morning. After meeting up, they both traveled in a van to a warehouse, the Justice Department said.

That’s apparently when Nafis told the agent he had a "Plan B."

If Nafis felt his attack was about to be thwarted by cops, he would invoke the back-up plan, which involved a suicide bombing operation, the criminal complaint alleges.

When the pair arrived at the warehouse, Nafis began putting together what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb inside the van. Then they drove together to the target: The New York Federal Reserve Bank. As they drove, he armed the purported by putting together the detonator and the explosives, the criminal complaint says.

The van was then parked next to the bank. The pair went to a nearby hotel, where Nafis apparently recorded a video statement meant to be shown to the American public in connection with the attack.

"We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom," he said, according to the criminal complaint.

He then tried, several times unsuccessfully, to detonate the device, which was actually inert explosives.

Nafis was then arrested.

A good portion of the sting operation was caught on tape, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

[Posted at 3:59 p.m. ET] The plot came to light as an FBI undercover agent posed as an al-Qaeda facilitator, federal authorities say.

Nafis asked the undercover agent for 50-pound bags of what he thought were explosives, and then worked on putting together an explosive device, according to prosecutors.

"Nafis purchased components for the bomb’s detonator and conducted surveillance for his attack on multiple occasions in New York City’s financial district in lower Manhattan," a Justice Department press release describing the criminal complaint said. “Throughout his interactions with the undercover agent, Nafis repeatedly asserted that the plan was his own and was the reason he had come to the United States."

[Posted at 3:56 p.m. ET] We now have some more detail about the plot to blow up the reserve bank from a press release that breaks down the criminal complaint filed against Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis:

The Bangladeshi national allegedly came to the United States in January to carry out a terror attack on U.S. soil and said he had overseas connections to al-Qaeda. As he attempted to recruit others to join his cell, he tried to recruit someone who turned out to be an FBI source, the criminal complaint says.

Nafis initially had a few targets in mind, according to the complaint, including  "a high-ranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange." In the end, Nafis settled on the New York Federal Reserve Bank, federal officials said.

"In a written statement intended to claim responsibility for the terrorist bombing of the Federal Reserve Bank on behalf of al-Qaeda, Nafis wrote that he wanted to 'destroy America' and that he believed the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was to target America’s economy," the Justice Department press release said. "In this statement, Nafis also included quotations from 'our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden' to justify the fact that Nafis expected that the attack would involve the killing of women and children."

The "explosives that he allegedly sought and attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public," according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch.

[Posted at 3:41 p.m. ET] Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan, the Department of Justice and a U.S. attorney's office said in a press release.

He will be charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, the press release said.

[Posted at 3: 40 p.m. ET] A man has been arrested for planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

The man was arrested as part of a string operation conducted by the FBI and NYPD as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a federal law enforcement source said.

"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure. The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences," FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan said in a statement. "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."

soundoff (747 Responses)
  1. Am mom

    is there a video obama can blame it on?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheBob

      Get back to the kitchen. NOW!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • melanieleighwright

      @TheBob – Go to bed hungry, NOW. Better yet... why don't YOU go back to the kitchen and make YOURSELF something to eat for all three of us. BTW – I am a woman with a high-heel steel-toe boot. Good little schovenist. Run along now. After that, wash my undergarnments by hand.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • nomorewar

      lol a little sensitive are we. I am not an old school shovenist myself. I believe women have far more value than just in the kitchen. Take, for instance, their diaper changing skills – 2nd to none! Also, i find women much more adept at scrubbing toilets and floors. Hope this post gives you hope that there are still good men out there!

      October 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nomorewar

    I cannot think of a better example of the cultural values of those that seek to harm this country. I genuinely believe their goals are less about killing Americans than it is about achieving some post-life favor with their twisted god. How any human being would believe their GOD wants them to harm another is beyond me. Even children with no exposure to religion innately know better than that. Hate is in their DNA and it is all they will ever know

    October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Fiona

    Whenever I read "undercover agent", I think "entrapment". Would this alleged terrorist have had the initiative to do anything on his own? Or is he just a nutter with violent fantasies who was offered the opportunity to act out his admittedly twisted ideas? If I put a wallet full of cash on the sidewalk and sit back to see who picks it up and removes the cash, have I found a criminal? Or just an impulsive person with poor morals?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • nomorewar

      wow, i don't even know what to say about this post. comparing someone that finds money on the sidewalk with someone willing to murder hundreds of women and children is about the lamest misguided liberal perspective i've ever heard. The point is, they found someone willing to do something horrible BEFORE he found an organization capable of allowing him. Are you really this stupid or is it something you pretend to be to stir up others?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • hidden powers

      bush was willing to murder millions. true fact

      October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Army Sergeant

    Notice how some people have to bring the typical, midwest, hateful, partisan, republican crap along to post it here? What's that about terrorism being alive and well in Obamaland? What? No comment like: "See, Obama's FBI got another one! Great job! Let the guy rot!"

    October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • nomorewar

      totally agree this has nothing to do with the election. I seriously get tired of partisan'ism introduced into every conversation. by BOTH sides though. buy yah hate it even when its my side doing it :)

      October 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. steve

    Certainly can't condone the action, but the spirti of it may be a different story.

    The Federal reserve is destroying our country

    Prinate concerns, often foreign, control the US money supply, printing 80 Billion a day decreasing its value of every dollar you have.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. joeknockz

    I'm glad this didn't actually happen. I'm glad we had the intelligence in the right places at the right time to prevent massive injuries/fatalities. Amazing job to everyone from the FBI up to the presidents desk.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. irock

    The Federal Reserve Bank is not owned by anyone. It is the central bank of the United States and was formed to provide a safer banking system.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anti_Jihad

      You don't expect a guy named Mohammed to know that. Do you?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • bag o chips

      he probably doesnt care - i think it was meant to be symbolic.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • cwfusto

      You obviously have no CLUE about who "owns" the federal reserve, do you. IT's a Private bank, which means it's owned by people ( wikipedia goes a long way now adays) that lends money to the US government, and contrary to popular belief, does NOT create a fair banking system. period.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hidden powers

    "The man was arrested as part of a string operation conducted by the FBI and NYPD as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a federal law enforcement source said"

    string operation????
    they mean STING operation?
    am i missing something here?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rationalintn

    CNN will provide more details just as soon as one of their reporters steals evidence from the crime scene.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • nomorewar

      lmao thanks for that

      October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Scott

    Oh wow another "Terrorist Attack" that was stopped by the FBI that it turns out the FBI helped plan by pretending to be al-Qaeda with the idiot they found and even pretended to give him the explosives. Guess their budgets need a boost.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. James Taylor

    Evan he is our president and he gets the credit! PERIOD!!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • huh

      who's Evan?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. west coaster

    religion is like the plague only worse...

    October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. ChrisVC

    After 11 years without a successful attack, it's understanding if the public becomes complacent. But that's a luxury law enforcement can't afford. – Paul J. Browne,NYPD

    - Well no $#!t Paul, especially when it's law enforcement enabling these bafoons!

    As alleged in the complaint, the defendant came to this country intent on conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and worked with single-minded determination to carry out his plan. – U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch

    - Oh, gimme a break! This guy wasn't single-minded, you people helped him. He couldn't managed a d@mn thing without our own Government supplying him.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shawn

      Chris I agree with you. Enough is enough. The "wonder bomber" came in intentionally to do just that !

      October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RR

    A terror attack foiled. Thank you Obama!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom

      Thank you police, holder will now sue them.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      Evidently, this was an isolated incident and will not prevent Obama from attending his campaign fund raiser tonight.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. huntmur

    Wow what a coincidence and just before the debate on foreign policy. Seriously America, we need to wake up and do it immediately!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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