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. Leslie

    Will the U.S. ever get smart and not allow these aliens, immigrants set foot at Kennedy Airport?

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

      If we had never let aliens and immigrants in to the USA, only Native Americans would be here today...

      October 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LI_Bri

    Probably a loser who was framed so we can continue the "war on terror" nonsense.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ... Kentucky long-rifleman ....

    >>
    ...Thanks to the FBI, the NYPD, and the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION for the good work !!
    >>

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

      Indeed. Very nice acting on everyone's part. Good show all around. Expect more as the election closes in.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • phillman

      yeah that was great work, talking him into the ridiculous plot,providing him with the so-called bomb,teaching him how to use the detonator, and driving him there. Are we fighting terrorists, or training them? They obviously got someone with limited mental capacity (not unlike some posters here) and talked him through a crime. Yeah great job J. Edgar.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bucth

    It's not terror. It's just a crazy muslim. Who's terrified? Are you terrified? I'm not terrified. Stop calling it terror and call it what it is. Crazy muslims.

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

      Crazy Muslims = Terrorists. Haven't you figured that out yet???

      October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bucth

      So, you're terrified then?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike H.

    "We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom."
    Allah-willing, you will attain martyrdom long before you come anywhere near a victory.

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

      Allah, OR the US Marines!!!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Amir

    All i know is here's another Muslim trying to cause damage to humanity !

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

      Too bad so many "Christians" have already damage humanity...

      October 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • phillman

      what do you mean, all he did was push the button, the feds did all the rest.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Curt29

    Great idea Chris! Because the majority of real people try to blow up buildings! Way to logically put things together. Why don't we just start sending these messages out to everyone affiliated with the al-Qaeda, well never have to worry about getting attacked.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisVC

      What Curt, you don't think that he was never encouraged to carry out "his" plan without some help from the undercover FBI agents? Bttw, real people DO blowup buildings (who else could), not fictional STEROTYPES of evil nasty, manical, world-destroying terrorists. My point being, that people have or will blow out or proportion this guy's image as a terrorist threat, while ignoring that it was the FBI that gave him help.

      And no, I'm not advocating 'harsh language' as a solution to al-Qaeda, but of these sorts of incidents, and there seems to be at least one a year, we're not dealing with people with strong ties to al-Qaeda, but ignorant quacks, and wannabes. The type of people that a less costly (effort and money) solution could have better potential to work, rather than giving them fake bombs.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DC

    And people wonder why we need such a large defense budget.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bucth

      You're a sheep.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • phillman

      I know, I mean it costs a lot of money to set up fake terror attacks, then find an idiot to be a patsy, all so you can praise the govt. from top to bottom.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CJ

    A disgusting attempt to kill innocent human life.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Excellent job, FBI. Thank you!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. inUSA

    Extinguished him, we don't want any tax payers money to keep him alive. I'm so sick of this no-brain people. Also how in the world -he was able to come over here in the US? I know for a fact, so many good people wants to come over for vacation but denied for visa all the time, but bimbo muslims are flocking always to the US and always get away almost anything!!!!!!!!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stacey

    Just another FBI set-up. Every single FBI claimed terrorist attack in the US since 9-11 has been proven an FBI set-up. Solution: Abolish the FBI agent provocateur mafia thugs.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anti_Jihad

      Attack prevented. FBI won. Muslim terrorist lost. Awesome outcome!!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. commander115

    "He then tried, several times unsuccessfully, to detonate the device, which was actually inert explosives." Is there an editor in the house? Please, please? Several times unsuccessfully–how many times did he do it successfully? Inert explosives–is that something like jumbo shrimp?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dallas

    What is name of person arrested? Is it Mitt Romney who does not like Ben Bernanke?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rod

    As usual you jack wagon’s from the right refuse to give any credit yet again. I am willing to bet if Bush or someone other than the President was in office, and this threat was thwarted all of you would be kissing the bootstraps you want the 47 percent to pull up. You people are a pathetic joke, and you cannot set aside your petty inferior differences long enough to relish in the fact that no lives were lost.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • phillman

      If Bush was in office you would be spouting all kinds of conspiracy theories that Bush was behind it. You assume that Obama should get "credit" for it, although I'm sure he probably didn't even know the operation was going on until after it was over.It was a BS operation anyway. The only thing the so called" terrorist" did was try to push the button. The feds did all the rest. This is just another attempt to justify the police state, a cheap PR stunt.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
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