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. Richard L Smith

    I cannot believe some of the comments on this article. Apparently, many have bought this fairy tale. I was skeptical from line one, paragraph one. The CNN 'Breaking News' article, which by it's designation gives this 'story' credibility. So important that it is announced by the assistant police chief? Get freakin' real! A Bangladeshi with too many names enters the country? I'd like to see his passport. If this person is real, which I doubt, the rest of the story stinks big time. A "cell"? It seems the 'cell' consisted of this person and two FBI informants. Some cell! This story reeks of some local, state and federal 'anti-terrorist' units trying to justify their existence. Take, for instance, the ATF, (Alcohol, tobacco and firearms) What do they have to do with alcohol? With exception of some 'moonshiners', they are pretty much non-existant. Tobacco? Got me on that one. Firearms I'll concede, but this is a state a/o local issue, hardly worthy of the expense of a federal department. It was no doubt needed in the days of Elliot Ness, but that was long ago, very long ago. I honestly believe this person is a fabrication. I would like someone at the city, state or federal level security to prove me wrong.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachael

      The FBI sets up sting operations like this all the time. This is one of them. Please refrain from criticism-it appears duplicitous but it is a set up designed to attract the perps and the target perps never know. I have heard and seen the extent of research that goes into these operations and they are very successful. The psychological profiles are given-they track AND set up the perp to move forward with the plan. The perp has no idea that a sting operation is in effect. This one IS interesting because it is a sting operation that draws terrorists. I have watched one that was a joint task force in progress against drugs and racketeering and it is heavily involved. Agents of the FBI DO LOOK ACT AND SOUND LIKE THE VERMIN THEY GO AFTER in these undercover stings-you can't tell them apart from their perps -they are THAT GOOD!

      October 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kim

    Notice they aren't yet telling us HOW he successfully entered the country.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard L Smith

      They'll get around to it. They have to cover all their bases and rest assured, they have a whole lot of bases to cover. That's what I meant in my previous post "I'd like to see his passport", I'm very interested in how he got into the country with all of our amazing levels of security, I use the loose termly. This whole thing reeks of the "Fast and Furious' debacle.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CL55

    Somehow I knew it was a Muslim before even reading the article.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • RepublicanYouth

      Its a matter of statistics. More often than not, mass terrorist plots are done by Muslims. So if you assume it was a Muslim involved, you'll be correct the majority of the time.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOMBO ©

    Nothing like a thwarted attack to bring conspiracy theorists out of the woodwork. Did you all consider that MAYBE this guy genuinely was trying to set off a bomb and kill as many Americans as possible? Or does that just make too much sense?

    October 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 7skuareoff

    The FBI suckered a Bangaladesh terrorist into trying to
    blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in NY city with a fake
    bomb. If he spoke a little Spanish and told them he
    was a Mexican Drug Lord, they probably would have given
    him a Real bomb. Hell, if he'd have killed an FBI agent,
    Eric Holder would have given him Executive Privilege
    and Obama would have granted him amnesty.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. aaronstoughmudder

    I'm not for blowing it up, but it does need to be destroyed. You want to know why our National debt is so high? The Feseral Reserve is why. Almost all of your Federal Income Tax goes to the Federal Reserve. Abolish the Fed, no mre debt and the country woyld actually have trillions, yes trillions, of dollars every year to fund all of the programs that are being cut. Imagine what schools and healthcare would be like if we had a few trillion dollars to use towards them.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rachael

    Hooray for the FBI!! I always love the FBI. I think they are marvelous, stunning, intelligent and heroic!! Keep up the great work American FBI!

    October 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miguel

      Uh, you do understand that this entire situation was initiated and supplied by the FBI. The FBI sought this man out, supplied him with what he thought were explosives, and encouraged him to follow through. How did the FBI do a good job by supplying a supposed terrorist with explosives he wouldn't otherwise have been able to attain?

      October 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Miguel

    The FBI arranged a terror plot and we're expected to praise them for it? It's called fear mongering and job security. Since 9/11 (McVeigh included) the FBI has created terror plots from scratch and encourage then entrap these patsys. Like the mentally impaired Richard Reid (shoe bomber) who couldn't tie his own shoe, let alone put a bomb in one and ignite it. Wake up people.

    October 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • PeacePlease

      I find it very sad all the people that are leaving comments about killing others that they do not know,, that is what a terrorist does right,, so you are no different than the one you despise, so please wake up. It is easier for the FBI and the CIA to solve crimes that they create, this sounds to me like just another false flag to help them keep their jobs,, I agree with Miguel 100% and things will never get better if we dont take personal responsibility for ourselves and take time to seek the truth and wake up. Thank you Miguel for being one of the people trying to save our future.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • You can't handle the truth

      One word for you and Miguel... Bull. If you come to this country with the intent to do harm, we will bury you. Wanna learn the lesson first hand? Try what this terrorist did...

      October 18, 2012 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Hide Behind

    Every illegal act and tactics of the 1950s through the 1970s hat were judged illeally done by the FBI are now "legal".
    Not only legal but. a vast grouping of populace are willing to allow them to act againdt everyone else in even more draconian ways.
    A police state without public oversight as long as their butts are safe and comfortable.
    The ifeals of american civil libertys were not just for americans but supposed to set the example for whole world to follow not just to provide a flag to hide behind so you can get a paycheck.

    October 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • You can't handle the truth

      Job #1 is protect the borders and to prevent people who would do harm to civilians. If we have to trim a few corners – so be it. I don't see the other side letting up their attacks on our interests – what else do you expect from us?

      October 18, 2012 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. WarMonger

    Another islamophobic movie.

    October 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. all-you-dumb-sheep

    When will the US and the world realize this faux religion has no place in a civilized world. It's not the 7th century anymore. If not all Muslims, excuse me, throat cutters, who want to take over one country at a time, are not terrorists then the silence from those that "are not" ( most likely awaiting their jihad signal to attack) is more than deafening!!! Think about it you stupid sheep!

    October 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. flared0ne

    Wow, why don't you share with us the secret handshake used to PROVE that someone is NOT an FBI informant?? We'd ALL like to hear about THAT one. Come on, guys, you're leaving yourself open to being "suckered" by someone who has a clue. How WOULD you handle having your "neutralized explosives" be replaced by the REAL stuff, while you COLLABORATE in getting it parked outside a strategic target - will we be hearing about THAT when it happens?

    October 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Rachael:
    You don't say. Wow, do you kinda like work for the FBI or somebody like that? You seem to be very knowledgeble in this area. It's kinda like sitting baby in a high chair, and setting a nice warm bowl of oatmeal on one side of the table, then sitting a handful of sugary suckers on the other. Then you sit back and see which one baby goes after, right.

    October 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Rachael:
    You don't say. Wow, do you kinda like work for the FBI or somebody like that? You seem to be very knowledgeble in this area. It's kinda like sitting baby in a high chair, and setting a nice warm bowl of oatmeal on one side of the table, then sitting a handful of sugary suckers on the other. Then you sit back and see which one baby goes after, right?

    October 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MuckFohammad

    Wait, the guy's name was Mohammad? Now THAT'S peculiar... 😉

    October 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
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