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. Hugh Jass

    I guess he was going to vote for Ron Paul as Plan C.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JohnRJohnson

    I LOVE THIS TACTIC that the FBI is using. Terrorists will never know if they have an agent in their midst.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. magneticink

    ...and Wile E Coyote is still after the Road Runner...

    October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ryan

    End the Fed, End the Wars, bring our troops home. Charged Obama with war crimes and with treason, bring charges against George W. Bush for war crimes

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

    Amazing! My anti-Obama post was rejected. WOW!! Biased media censorship at its best at CNN!!!

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

      Then stop using the N-word. CNN rejects those posts.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rationalintn

      Ztom- good one!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ES

    was it Ron Paul ?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nostrathomas22

    Nice name. Usually, our assassins and serial killers have three names...but nooooooo......! This joker has more names than Al Qaeda has terrorists. For future reference, let's just call him Quasi Terrorist.....which is what he turned out to be.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. r

    speaking of patsies...

    October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JohnRJohnson

    Pretty ignorant comment. The FBI and CIA target actors who are looking to perpetrate acts of terror. The fact that they get them BEFORE they can perform the act of terror is a good thing. I LOVE THIS TACTIC by the FBI and CIA. It's brilliant.

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

      JohnJohnson:So you just take the word of the F.B.I and the C.I.A. and trust that what they said happened exactly the way they said it did.These two organization's have a stellar history for telling the American public the truth *LOL*.Does Vietnam and the Kennedy assassination ring any bell's??? You should do some research on both of those subject's.I think you will be shocked at what the real truth is.Don't believe me,do the research.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brad

    It was merely a misunderstanding. Romney merely said that he wanted to effectively 'blow up' the reserve by encouraging domestic growth.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JohnRJohnson

    Gas prices are going down now. The reason they went up is because of increased demand in China and India, as well as the interruption in production during the Libyan crisis. The US government has no control over the price of a gallon of gasoline. We've been producing more oil in the last 4 years than in the last 20.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maltheus

    This is nothing more than a lazy attempt, by the FBI and others, to conflate al-Qaeda with any opposition to the insitution which precipitated this financial crisis. No opponent of the fed would imagine that destroying one of their buildings would accomplish anything positive at all.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wondering

      So are you saying the best way to foil the Federal government is to let them continue what they are currently doing?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maltheus

      I'm merely saying that this is crude propaganda. Cui bono?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisVC

      @ Wondering – So you want to "foil" the Federal Government. I've got some friends that may be willing to help you do that. Their names are Cia and Fbi. From what I can tell, they can hook you up with all sorts of goodies to overthrow the govt. 😉

      October 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. irock

    I dont think you took the time to read the story....

    October 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. popcorn


    October 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |

    Get this through your thick demented Republican brains, the repuslive creeps who control our house of representatives voted down the funding of additional resources to protect our foreign embassies , check the comments out of one of the members of the foreign funding committe that said quote"we are already spending enough money in Iraq to protect our embassy there why do we need to spend additional funds else where in the middle East" .Those are the dirtbags withg the blood on their hands not the current administration that requested more money for security 4 times in the last 2 years and were voted down each and every time.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      Your comment cannot be repeated enough,

      well said.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
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