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. Office Junkie

    YAY FBI!!! Thank you for not letting this happen.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maltheus

      But then you would have to thank them for giving him the bomb in the first place.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DigitalAge

      @Maltheus – Fake bomb, the article said fake bomb. You couldn't very well expect the Feds to give him a real bomb. Conspiracy theorist everywhere would have nothing to debate if it was in black and white.

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

      Lol they pretended to recruit him, gave him the bomb, and told him what to do. Gee thanks FBI for stopping your own plot! Guess your budget needs a boost.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jay

    if this was a muslim man, the headline would've been "Terreorist" not Man arrested in plot to blow up Federal Reserve bank in New York
    once again, America, don't let these media wash your brain.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daremonai

      Ahm... I would wager the person was Muslim given the name and affiliation with al-Qaeda...

      October 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jorline

      Fail....this is CNN, they don't like the word terrorist.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DC Johnny

    Thanks, Obama! Great work!! Oh wait – I thought we were supposed to be so fondly looked upon around the world now? So much for that premature Nobel Prize.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • fox

      nice to see idiots like you are still alive and well in America!

      October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC Johnny

      I eagerly await an Obama rose garden "press conference" (new definition of press conference is one in which the press is not allowed to ask any of their own questions) where he will take full credit, talk about how he has made America safer, and use the word "I" at least a dozen times. Then he will apologize for a video that had nothing to do with the motives for this attack.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • kbv206

      Amazing. People disparage Obama even when the FBI successfully prevents a terror plot on our soil. And yet, when we have a terror plot in Libya, Republicans are so quick to pounce on Obama. Some* of you Republicans should be ashamed to call yourself Americans.

      Another win for the FBI. Another win for the U.S. Intelligence Community. Another win for our current President.

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

      Another false FLAG to lift someones poll ratings.....

      OBAMNY 2012

      Hillary calls for False Flag (Google it)

      This is what crimal government wants, to set up false flags to push agendas wake up sheeple....

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

    Congratulations to the FBI for thwarting the FBI's terrorist plot!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maltheus

    Always an FBI informant or agent pushing these types of events.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cary

    "The man was arrested as part of a string operation" ... Sting perhaps?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • hobart

      A string walks into a bar.

      He asks for a shot of tequilla. The bartender replys "Sorry we don't serve strings". So the string leaves.

      The next day, the same string walks back into the bar. He asks for a shot of tequilla. The bartender replys "Sorry we do not serve strings, please go away."

      The following day the string stands outside the bar debating about whether to go in or not. He ties himself in a knot and frays the bottom of the string.

      He goes in and asks for a shot of tequilla. The bartender replys "Hey aren't you that string that's been coming in here all the time."

      They string replys "No I'm a frayed knot".

      October 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Hender

    A statement from the White House reads that President Obama is happy that the FBI & NYPD were able to successfully capture the potential demonstrator.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NYYFan1961

    I applaud the valiant effort of both the FBI and NYPD !! I ♥ NY !!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Wow – they got you fooled, eh?

      You ever look into things yourself by doing a google news search – or do you rely on cnn and fox to give you the pre-approved message from the corporatocracy.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bora

    To many people this operation may not make sense. Because after all there were no real explosives and nobody got killed. However, this operation shows us HOW REAL THE THREAT IS. The public and law enforcement agencies should always be on the lookout for the next 9/11. We can never rest and should never trust these extremist elements.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daremonai

      Which is why details are going to be important, because last time they 'caught' someone it turned out the whole chain was fake except for the easily influenced lackey.

      There is no shortage of people who could be peep pressured into violent acts, crow there have been experiments where normal people could be coaxed to do pretty horrible things with the right plants.. people who would normally never be a threat to anyone. I sometimes worry that the FBI read those papers and realized they had a scientifically grounded way to manufacture easily arrested criminals.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bora

      @ Daremonai. I agree with some of your points. Its necessary to not overdo it. But then didn't we all see videos of violent protests in all US embassies across the globe last month? Didn't we see American flags burned, property destroyed, the ambassador killed? There were attacks even on US allies like Germany, Britain, Australia. Believe me, the threat is very much real. If we really believe in democracy, freedom of speech, equality and peace, we will have to be on our toes and be ready to defend it. We can't afford another 9/11 or another ambassador getting killed.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lysette

      Those who want to destroy America will continue to try to repeat 9/11 level impact attacks indefinitely because tragically Bush's response caused America to go from surplus to trillions in debt mired in 2 wars, so at an objective perspective 9/11 worked. Make no mistake, the threat is very real – the FBI were able to pass off inert 'explosives' this time, but had they not done so this guy would likely have got the real thing soon enough. Bravo to stopping this one!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. carlyrgill

    Didn't Jeremy Irons try this in Die Hard 3

    October 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      As I traveled to St ive's I met a man with 7 wives
      Each of the wives had 7 sacks
      Each of the sacks had 7 cats
      Each of the cats had 7 kittens
      Kittens, cats, sacks, wives – how many were going to St Ives?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Daremonai

    So I guess the question would be, is this someone who actually had the drive and interest to do this, or is this another case of the FBI finding some rube, building an entire fake recruitment structure for them, and coaxing them into a criminal act?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    Another terror plot well orchestrated by the FBI. Having serious trouble believing that these AQ wanna bes are still STUPID enough to trust ANYONE that offers to help them carry out jihad.

    Just get a degree in sociology and complain like any proper american would be radical.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rabid Goon

    Why no mention of this man's religion? I'll bet anyone 1000 bucks he's not an atheist and his imaginary god was his justification for this plot.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Why does it matter? I bet if the news mention anything like Islam, Muslim, Arabic, or middle eastern, you'll swarm and troll like flies landing on shiiit

      October 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ObjectiveGuy

    Now he'll NEVER be able to get it on with the 17 virgins!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • josh rogen

      I thought it was 72 virgins, of course with the increase in martyrdom the number might of went down.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. thesaj

    Where did he get the 1,000 lb (fake) bomb. Bet it was the FBI...

    October 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Ya think?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • newtonfig

      does it matter? The FBI hasnt given me a 1000lb fake bomb because I havent every asked for one. Obviously this guy did somewhere down the line. What do you think counterterrorism is?

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