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. NBC's Terrorized Justice

    Hi I'm Chris Hansen... on this episode, we have Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis who entered the chat and tried to solicit an underage bomb. But fortunately, he was only talking to a decoy, let's have a look...

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

    "We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom," he said, according to the criminal complaint.

    Thanks for the option, Quazi. Martyrdom it is, then. It's high time we started eliminating these clown permanently.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. long bill duffy

    if i didn't know better.. this is just what the powers that be need to stifle any criticism of the federal reserve, and to demonize anyone who calls for abolishing it. how convenient. qui bono folks..

    October 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • flatlandr

      I don't see the connection. Being a target makes it more valuable? Is that the Biggie/Tupac theory?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dre

      No doubt. And watch the FBI are the ones who made the bomb. Always, Always, Always.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • t_wiggin

      too bad they got 'em

      October 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sly

    Good job FBI.

    America has created dangerous enemies, and now we must pay the price for our foray's into the mid-east.

    We will have to be ever vigilant, and thank goodness for our Intelligence departments.

    And of course, as our President said last night on another subject, "Ultimately, I am responsible".

    Thank you Mr. President, again.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Odinkitty

    HOW CONVENIENT! Right before elections! I call PROPOGANDA on this one. Kind oif like when the notorious Bin Laden tapes that were obviously fake would come out around elections..LOL

    October 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesus Christ Superstar

      Yes..., because Obama, being Muslim, OBVIOUSLY staged this JUST so he could win reelection. YOU are smart.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      So true. Reminds me of how George Bush staged 9/11 using a former CIA agent Bin Laden who is the son of Bush's 25 year personal friend in Saudi Arabia.

      So you would agree that 9/11 was just Bush propoganda right?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • flatlandr

      Waaaah! too all of you devisive goons trying to make this political! You'd be the first ones claiming your friends and family in New York and humpin fire fighter love! Why don't you take a step back and think about if this actually happened. These wackos WILL get us again, eventually. Hopefully you will have an angle to exploit the event with when it happens. GOOD JOB FBI!!!

      October 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ME

    Send the mf to Gitmo. Waterboard him. Then throw him in a hole and throw away the key.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sly

    I've come to the conclusion that MANY Republicans would prefer that this guy did kill hundreds of New Yorkers.

    Read these comments – only 1 party seems to be rooting againest America.

    Y'all will do almost anything to win an election, but rooting againest America is really sick. Thanks GOP. (not all of you of course – but seems to be about 2 in 10 from this blog).

    October 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dm

    Dear FBI and NYPD, Excellent job!! Thank You!!!

    October 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Peter

    Islam phobia get real these people are all over the country great work for the FBI people. There is no moderation with Islam if they are moderate fear from the fundamentalist's will prevent them from ever being true Americans

    October 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Wade stem

    Great Job

    October 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Wade stem

    Great Job Well done

    October 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jimbojoe

    Holy crud! I'm sure we'll hear soon about how this wouldn't even have happened if Obama wasn't so weak on terror.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Woofer

    Turns out this guy is a Bangladeshi... You can't trust any Muslim these days..

    October 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Damn, if only he had succeeded. That was not a terrorist that was a HERO!!!!!!

    October 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. oreo

    must have been the youtube video....

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