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. Anonymous

    I have heard so much bullcrap from our government officials, and have seen so much infringement of our rights, and seen so many people falsely accused, that I do not believe a single word of it.

    This is nothing more than propaganda to convince the public that they need all these security measures like the TSA, and they will try to expand it.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A

    FBI foils FBI planned terror plot, says FBI.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      Yeah, you have other information pertaining to this event?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eric Long

    Go back to sleep. You're all safe now.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brent

    "We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom," he said..."

    Now that he's in custody, let's proceed with the martyrdom.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rationalintn

      Amen. If only the FBI could convince them they should be a blindfolded suicide bomber, strap it on, and drop them off in an open field.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mason

    Well the FBI budget should be increased by a Billion dollars and everyone should get raises.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bobgordonart

    Why tell terrorists step by step how why foiled this and other attacks?
    Why give them any extra info that could be used to better their future attempts??

    October 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      You act as if this happened by complete chance, that the FBI doesn't have innumerable al-Qaeda "contacts" throughout the country by this point. All we told terrorists is "we know you're out there and when we find you we'll make you like like a freaking idiot."

      October 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • mc

      Same reason we give China all our intellectual property. Because we are stupid.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • AdmiralCommodoreSquarePants

      Well Bob, if they had been paying attention they would know most of their operatives get busted reaching out for accomplices and inadvertently making contact with an undercover G-Man who sets their guy up to fail, all the while handing the prosecution a case wrapped with a bow. It's only like the 300th time Al Qaeda has failed in this very manner.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. popcorn

    QUESTION.....

    If FEDERAL RESERVE was invented by illuminati or SECRET SECTS. How come PEOPLE STILL CAN'T GET A JOB but want to work a pay for living?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RunForTheHills

    Is there any proof this is Islamic terrorism and not terrorism from Ron Paul supporters like Stormfront and the KKK?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Psst, put away your fairy tale book and try to actually read the article to see the proof.

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

      Are we sure this was a terriorist attack, ? Maybe it was a demonstration against a video!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pavelina

    Mohammed Coefficient: 100%!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. brmull

    Great. Another young man's life ruined by FBI entrapment.

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

      hopefully you're next mohammed

      October 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. B-rational

    hello1

    October 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    Are you guys kidding? Aiding and abetting? Come on. The FBI gave him faulty equipment, oversaw his entire mission and arrested him once he had committed the crime. You know why Fast and Furious is totally idiotic? Our guys didn't know where anything would go/end up. We were with him every step of the way, and the FBI fooled him good enough that he made a guilty video IN FRONT OF AN AGENT. This is how it is supposed to work.

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

    HOW CONVENIENT... I predicted to several people last week that if Obumma does not do very well in the debate, there will be some terroistic threat thwarted or some alleged capture of a terrorist in Libya.

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

      sip* sip*

      October 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Discusted

      so I guess the next thing to do is start tying shoes together and throwing them up into trees and power lines (may as well follow the Wag the Dog movie completely to the script like this appears to have)

      October 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MUSLIM

    Before all you red necks start attacking Islam i want you to think for 1 Nano-second. THESE UNDERCOVER AGENTS THAT GAIN THE TRUST AND BROTHERLY LOVE OF THESE MUSLIM RADICALS AREN'T BLOND HAIR AND BLUE EYED CHRISTIANS. FOR THE MOST PART THESE UNDERCOVER AGENTS ARE MUSLIM THEMSELVES. IT'S GOOD MUSLIMS WHO LOVE AMERICA WORKING IN CONCERT WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT TO STOP THESE FANATICAL ZEALOTS. ......i would know i am a muslim who is called a "walk-in" by the feds who has put his life on the line to protect this great country !!!

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

      I have a question. Where are all of the GOOD Muslim's when the American flag is being burned in the streets of the Arab countries? We continue to send $$$$$ to support (good) Muslim's and their is NO outrage. Why should the American people put up with people attempting to change our system of law and order? Sharia law??

      October 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    Where was Bruce Willis when all this was going on?

    October 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
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