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. Grateful person

    Thank God we have the best law enforcement/ military personnel who work their butts off everyday to protect us all. They are the reason our country has thrived since our existence. Job Well Done! To Nafis, enjoy burning in hell with your 72 virgins.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. funktacious2

    We'll see this story again in theaters in about 2-4 years.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MoaL

    Did they pick the target, and provide the means, and coerce this young dumb kid into being their propaganda patsy just so he could suck up some bravado from his jihadist bretheren who just happen to be FBI, How much is the price tag on this so called sting that framed 1 easily influenced personality,how about judiciary cost and then chalk on incarceration. Now do I really need to point out just how ridiculous this particular item of the day is. If you people eat this up you would swallow just about anything. OMG

    October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • flatlandr

      Lucky your here to get it straight for us. So, there aren't really any individuals out there that would attempt this type of operation, huh? Did you ask yourself where his funding came from? How could he afford to buy 50lb of explosives in this country? Do you have any idea how difficult it is to come by any explosives at all much less what he planned to procure. Especially in New York city! I'm sure he didn't expect them to just give it to him. This was a planned mission. He came with funding and created a target and a scenario.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Dude seriously, you believe that this guy is the victim here, that he was coerced by the FBI into coming to this country and trying to blow up the Federal Reserve. Are you insane?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. funktacious2

    We'll see this story again in theaters in about 2-5
    years.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mc

    I live across the street and am not psyched to learn my block is a target.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dhulfiqar

    Another homegrown terrorist mastermind was arrested after being recruited, coached & given fake explosives. I feel safer, not sure about you

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

    A muslim tried to blow something up???? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, say it isn't so.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CrazyEd

    Ok.... Did someone steal part of the plot for Die Hard 3, or is it just me? Minus the schools and the real bomb placed on a cargo ship.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tony

    Another muslim, anyone surprised? 

    October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • popcorn

      More like TEAPARTY.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fred

    I don't get the comments here. This administration and supporting agencies can't get credit for anything. If this guy was successful then it would be the current adminstrations fault, it was stopped and now its a political ploy. If you read the article NYC has 1000 officers specially assigned to terrorism!!! The FBI and CIA have been doing a great job of being proactive and playing the undercover role. Great work guys, I appreciate all you do NYPD, CIA, FBI and any other agency involved.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SconnieGuz

    One terrorist trying to bomb another terrorist.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hippoa

    This is so complicated. Maybe he wouldn't have even tried to do this if the undercover FBI didnt tell him that he can get "explosives" in the first place. But good work I guess..

    October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. popcorn

    How come you have INFLATION, STAGFLATION, HYPER INFLATION PROBLEMS?

    Feels like TEA PARTY...

    October 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mary Pattee

    I agree.....CNN is pro Obama ! I have not made up my mind yet as to who I will vote for, but I think it stinks that CNN shows favorisim. Not good~

    October 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sevdad

      This is frnont page on FOx news right now. Maybe you'd feel more comfortable taking it from them?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nightsun2k7

    Quick, someone blame Obama for looking after your country's security. If the cons were in power, you'd be invading Antarctica in about an hour claiming WMD's

    October 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
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