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. jokesapart

    This is a Bangladeshi MUSLIM, they are just worthless!! They are torturing all the minorities like buddhist , hindus in Bangladesh.
    USA should dtop giving visas to MUSLIMS,they are making the whole world restless!

    October 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. HZ

    A twitter feed is not a news article. CNN don't be lazy. Write a real report. Thanks

    October 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pditty

    Looks like the rest of the world continue to hate us... I was HOPING that would CHANGE

    October 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wyominguys

    Im sure this was related to an anti muslim video on U Tube... he was just mad cuz of that...ask the President!

    October 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Angel

    Another manufactured crime by the NYPD,Look overseas for a patsy,pay his way here,connect him with a fake informant,sell him fake bombs,set him up.....

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

      Covert ops is great for reinforcing the waste of billions in the wrong places. Can't keep getting the money if it starts looking safe around the United States.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel

    I live in NYC, and I hear a lot complaining about the police. People here complain about bag searches, and claim we are 8 times more likely to be shot by police than a "terrorism." (no joke, they put terrorist in quotes on their propaganda). Well I know this isn't cool to say these days, but as this article mentions...give the police props! We can't afford to relax when they have over 15 attempted plots here foiled since 9/11.... we can spare a minute to have our bags searched.

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

      The Anti-terrorism unit in the NYPD is one of the biggest scams in the department,every cop i know wants to get in it because they do absolutely nothing all day.

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

      100% agree.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. anti_habiibb's_period

    why dont we nuke the whole middle east! period.!

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

      You realize this guy is not from the Middle East, right?

      October 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mordac

    It's clear that the aliens that we need to be concerned about aren't Mexican landscapers. Time to round 'em up and ship them back to the hellholes from which they slunk.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ton Def

      I can't believe how negative most of these responses are. So many posts criticizing law enforcement, criticizing the President for how he may try to score political points, and countless racist remarks about middle eastern immigrants and muslims. Am I the only one who realizes that this is great news? A terrorist plot to commit mass murder on American soil was foiled and you people are complaining? Such cynicism and ignorance is truly stunning. What would you all be saying if law enforcement had failed to prevent this attack?

      October 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. J-Rock

    Probably another false flag operation to instill more fear in all of us....

    October 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThatGuy

      Totally, man. The real problem is all that alien technology the governement's hiding from us in the desert that they're going to someday use to kill us all except for Steve Jobs who is secretly still alive and who they'll need to develop more alien technology for colony the government's been buliding on Mars since the Nixon administration. Or something.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jon

    Sounds like another entrapment. When will they start catching criminals, rather than creating them. "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."

    October 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      Actually, from the information they've posted so far this one looks less like entrapment than these cases usually do, although that may just be law enforcement spin.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    But then how will they be able to run the racing camels for the Vegas betting houses?

    October 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ben Rivera

    Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafism.. hmm.. No war with Islam just another nice Irish Catholic name.. .

    October 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. arwyn7840

    well these guys are obviously geniuses in terriorst tactics and operating under the radar! I wonder if the undercover agent had to explain how to make and hook up the phony explosives into a viable bomb. Thank God, these are the brain trusts our agencies are running into.I just hope there's no over confidence backfire.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. XxMacleodxX

    so Obama can take credit for this but not for his failure in protecting U.S. embassies resulting in U.S. deaths?

    October 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Foodpimp

      RIP VILERAT!!!

      October 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      Who are you even talking to?

      October 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    A real terrorist group would not get be that stupid, they would just do what they did before at 911 etc...

    October 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
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