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. Korben Dallas

    Enjoy Guantanamo for the rest of your young life...

    October 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dscon

    eF off CNN.............change the narrative AGAIN.
    IF their even is a plot ............
    you cannot be trusted anymore!

    October 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hide Behind

    Excuse me but it is against the law to evenmention blowing something up
    Mancould of been arrested and jailed almost immediately for that alone.
    It would not of been such a grandstanding move though would it?
    A lot like war on drugs feds set up straw buyers let them be small, help grow and then make the big bust.
    A judge in central flyways once asked the Federal agents how long had they surveiled the over harvesting of both wildfowl and animals by a guide service and yhey answered brightly 3 years.
    And when the judge then said you counted over 3000 birds and some hundreds of illegal kills after the first year of watching allmost all done by the same people?How large a crime does it have to be before you act.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Coincidental Nation

    Perfect timing! Now we can tie this attempted bombing to some a miracle find which will link this to Al Quaeda and we can justify invading Iran! Oh wait Al Quaeda and Iran are 2 seperate things! Dam , thought I had that one "cornered".

    October 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Durka Durka

    CNN, way to go having candy do obamas dirty work last night... Mitt beat both debaters obamanation and candy.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. czar33

    I just watched the 6pm(EDT) news, they were saying that the goverment was watching "these" people for months!
    I am surprised that these al-Qaeda people do not attack the NOC(Network Operations Center) in Bedminster, New Jersey. It is "owned" buy a major telcom, but other things happen there. aka: the old red phone! Hmmmmmmm

    October 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 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 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fallen Angel

    OH Yeah the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. these two organization's have a stellar history for telling the American public the truth.Does the Vietnam War or the Kennedy assassination ring any bell's??? Do the research on these two subject's and find out the real shocking truth.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Akira

      Better yet, did further and find out why the Secret Service was created by Lincoln. Hint: it wasn't to protect him obviously! NONE OF WHICH HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS GUY!!!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      Conspiracy theories are the stupid persons way to deal with things he mistrusts.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachael

      This was a sting operation to attract terrorists and it was successful. the amount of research that goes into this stuff is enormous before they start the agents making contact with the perps. Of course they set up the perps-that is how it works-they play it completely through to the end when the perp makes the move. IT reeks of duplicity after it's said and done but everything is recorded and the perp cannot get out of the charges-all stings work that way. The FBI is only playing along with the perps intentions. IT looks and appears like a set up after the fact-because it was. IT is not make believe and no they didn't drag this guy into doing this-the perps make the choice to contact the infiltrating agents not the opposite way around. All the FBI does is infiltrate then wait for the contact. These agents apparently set themselves up as explosives dealers. They didn't drag this guy into this-they just convinced someone that they are the explosives dealers for terrorists in the US and the perps made their way to them. Choice rests with the perps.

      October 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tinman

    Thank god he is captured. One can always follow ones conscience. This man clearly violated his own consciences and has got everything wrong. Killing innocent people DOES NOT equate to serving god! Let this seed fear in the heart of those who want to harm innocent Americans around the world. Bravo to all the law officials involved in the operation!

    October 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    If it wasnt for people getting killed ,Im all for it. I hate the Federal Reserve anyway.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lola

    Thank goodness this spontaneous demonstration was averted.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. vevienne

    this is not a laughting matter imagine the disaster that could have cost and the many lives that would been lost thank jesus he was caught what is wrong with these war boats can the stop trying to murder off every one else who is not like them the ought to be ashame of themselves god u r not sleeping thanks for watching over your people again you r awesome

    October 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tyler madarus

    Fact is our founding fathers were "terroists" or concidered that by the brittish. Our country was founded on standing up against constrictive and opressive goverments. Its now just became america that is restricting our freedom, our rights, and our liberty,and again a few must stand angainst the many for our freedome to return. Again these poeple will be called "terroists"or worse. Now im not saying killing the inocent is right but we need change. We need it now, and sitting and waiting and peacefull protest arent working. I want to live in a free country how about u ?

    October 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ron 15

    Obama,Biden and Napolitano will just call this work place violence carried out by a digruntled foriegn national and not a terrorist.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dusty

      Nah they will just call it another successful mission of protecting the american public from terrorist. Unlike that GWB guy!

      October 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SanFran

    Islam is a religion of peace, diversity is strength, America is a nation of immigrants, everybody is equal but the color of their skin.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
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