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. vlad762

    So, it's "pre-election propaganda?" Nobody in this world wants to kill us? I'm betting the people who make these comments were around 5 years old on 9/11/2001. Here's a wake up call. YOUR 'TOLERANCE' FOR TERRORISTS IS IRRELEVANT. You call the other 50% over on the right "racists" and "teabaggers" because you hate your own country and anyone in it you don't agree with. GROW UP OR BLOW UP. It's your choice.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    It's ridiculous that we allow Al Qaeda members to immigrate to the U.S.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foodpimp

      It'd be discrimination if we didn't. And the ACLU would be all over it like white on rice.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alicia

    Rightttttttttttt.... another BLACK flag terror plot, brought to you by... our government to give MORE reason to exercise CONTROL over our rights... it's a fake story folks... nothing to see here, keep moving along.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • newtonfig

      you read too many political fiction books.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foodpimp

      So that Last Resort tv show is pretty good huh? You see like a pretty big fan.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Name*shia/killer

    Wrap him and bacon and stick him in a microwave

    October 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Josh Ridgway

    This guy is a little late, The big banks and thier government have already destroyed the american economt.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sergeant

    Why shouuld we take the rap for his stupidity and afford him a martyr's role? I'd like the same end result as "D" above but think it should come at terrorist's hands. Keep him incognito for 4 or 5 months and then send him home recognizing his value as an informant on other terrorists. Let them hang him from a lamp post !

    October 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. crappygovernment

    War on Terror = a scam from the Tebow-haters

    October 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. EarlHigh

    This man is no terrorist, this man is a patriot.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • newtonfig

      killing innocent employees is patriotism? you need heavy medication and some anger mgmt

      October 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. amanda

    911 Facts:
    Melting Point of Carbon Steel: 2600 – 2800 degrees °FF
    Jet Fuel Burning Temp: Open Air Burning Temp: 500-599 °F

    Sly, are you so stupid as to believe the WTC came down from burning Jet Fuel? HAHAHA

    Have you ever seen an airplane engine melt from burning jet fuel? It's sad Americans are so stupid. Your government killed those people on 911 with demolition grade explosives to have an excuse to start another War (war on terror)...the only way to keep injecting $ currency into an economy that was failing. War is the only way to remotely cover up the Trillions of dollars the Fed is/was creating.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      Amanda, I have my own opinions about 9/11, but what I was trying to point out is that Republicans are on here calling this a big conspiracy by our FBI to help President Obama.

      After 9/11 Replicans scoffed at the idea of a conspiracy, because it was not politically convenient for them. Now Everything is a left-wing conspiracy:

      "Lance Armstrong is innocent ... it's just a big conspiracy"
      "There were no dinosaurs since God created earth 9000 years ago... it's just a big scientific fraud"
      "There was no terrorist... the FBI made this up"
      "There is no real Jobs report ... the Government made it all up"

      Pretty amusing. But you do make some good points about 9/11 ...

      October 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • db

      Sure thing, amanda. Everything that has ever happened in the history of humanity is the result of a devious conspiracy. You are a loon.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • honest john

      Jet fuel burning at 500-900 F is why the Exhaust gas temperature on a jet engine runs in the 1500F range? Oh and steel doesn't need to be completely liquid at 2600F to lose it's strength.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • FFFF

      You conspiracy theorists are so brain dead. You don't have to melt steel for it to bend. It only needs to burn at 1,600 degeress. Enough to make the steel in the towers give way.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I don't think you realize what heat stress is. See the fuel isn't able to melt the steel, but what it does is destroy the temper(the thing that gives steel strength to hold so many floors) while at the same time making it more malleable. You spout facts that aren't relevant. (I used parentheses to define words you might not know.) B(I)tch.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • hop

      I don't think that even the Fed is trying to cover up their printing of money. It's not a secret.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Amanda, you may want to study a bit of materials science before you go spouting more of the Truther nonsense. Perhaps throw in a course in civil engineering, basic physics, and some chemistry while you're at it. These claims have been debunked so many times they're really not worth examining again. Try reading some actual sites that aren't, you know, published by the tinfoil hat brigade.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Melting Point..

      Amanda: Steel does not need to melt to reach the point of failure. When steel reaches 1000 degrees F it begins to lose strength rapidly...

      October 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bob e

    as long as he didn't kill anyone i would have no problem if the federal reserve got blown up.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • colloctor

      you should be put away just like this idiot!!!

      October 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Douglas

    Why do we keep letting muslims build mosques in our country? We are letting the enemy in our home.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • hop

      Stop them in the name of freedom! Right?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DrIncognitus

    "He then tried, several times unsuccessfully, to detonate the device, which was actually inert explosives".

    Inert, or explosives. It cannot be both.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Haha

    What an idiot.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hehe

      I agree.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Motorick

    Congress needs to close the Fed first, then we can blow it up.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lbpaulina

    I have the same problem. I do not want to sound racist, but sometimes I begin to have serious doubts. I mean, I have some Muslim friends, but sometimes, when I think of them, I wonder if they must choose who to save between me and a Muslim, whom of us would they choose?

    October 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
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