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. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I passed my little test with the C.I.A.. In a way, I'm glad they didn't call me.

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

    Poor guy. Thinks he can "destroy" America by blowing up the Fed. That's like trying to destroy our education system by bombing NEA headquarters.

    October 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. You can't handle the truth

    Guys like you make me glad that this country has a strong military and police force. Guys like you make me think about signing up to serve.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dervid

    If true, hero! The Fed does far more damage to the US than any terrorist group.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. stayseelee123

    What took them so long?...we've been ready for another false flag. Just another excuse to "protect" us from the "terrorists"...but we know who the real enemy is now. Maybe we should be talking about what's happening in Louisiana with the the BP oil fiasco continues to destroy the US as we knew it.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ben Rivera

    That pretty boy is NOT going to enjoy prison.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Patrick

    Some of the post on this blog are pretty worrisome. I almost can't believe all the violence espoused on some of them. We aren't terrorist or animals here in the United States. We should set an example for the rest of the world, by being kind and helping others. We need to at least try to be the good guys.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Patrick

    I don't mean to be mr liberal but jeezalou. Some of the post here are kind of violent and disturbing. Lets be nice folks. Lets help our fellow man.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Julian Barraza

    agreed with Mason. They did this to remind us that we still "need" the Patriot Act, HR 1955 and unmanned drones flying over our country. Too many things are...wierd..with this story...regardless..I believe this "attack" on US soil will win Obama the election because Romney has pledged to cut military spending in half...which wont be necessary now that we have terrorists in America again...just my opinion though.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck in NY

      Don't be silly... it's the other way around. Obama's cutting military spending by 10% in January, and Romney's the one who's wanting to increase military spending. In fact, if you watched the debate, you would've seen Obama decrying Romney's wish to help the military. Obama stated they didn't want extra funding and they're not asking for extra funding!

      October 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama'sSon

      Is Obama going to blame this one on a youtube video as well. This situation is "not optimal".

      October 19, 2012 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. The Dude

    I expected a Ron Paul supporter, not a Muslim.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. saywhat

    Oooh Yeah! Great nab.
    The FBI spots this lone idiot with no known links, connections or even friends. Befriends him probably disguised as OBL's twin or some other thug so that he can trust them. gets him going to speak and babble in consort. And when they are certain that this Bengali is going nowhere , hand him a fake bomb, take him to his 'target', let him make a video and then 'nab' him.
    The story is splashed all over.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Hold Suspect

      Totally agree. I'm definitely for catching terrorists with plots, but this stinks all over. Sounds like they chose him, picked him up pretending to be Al Qaeda operatives, convinced him to go along with "their plot", got him all the material, helped him build the bomb, then bring him to the spot – and then arrest him. Are you freaking kidding me! This is nothing more that a set up and the kids only crime is that he was stupid and naive enough to go along with it. Cops in NY do this all the time. bate & switch. It's a shame that this is how our tax dollars are being spent. Hope he gets a good lawyer.

      October 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tommy

    Why shouldn’t we dole out student visas like candy at Halloween? Just because all nineteen 9-11 terrorists were in the US on student visas doesn’t mean anything. Al Qaeda is on the ropes because obama killed Bin Laden! There is no threat! That’s just the teabag military industrial complex fearmongering!

    October 18, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Educator

      We continue to do it because American schools churn out mouthbreathers like you, and the incurred deficit of talent requires us to import. Your fault.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Headphones

    He's got headphones on and was probably listening to Justin Bieber. Hence why he couldn't handle life anymore! 😛

    October 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. davecu

    Yo, Achmed wannabe, take a look at a map. You that big country below Canada and above Mexico, that's the US of A.
    Are you soo ignorant to think that a single mutt with a bomb is going to destroy that?
    Delusions of grandeur you have.

    If convicted, life without possibility of parole and introduce him to Bubba. Justice served.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Earl

    Not so hasty now, maybe we can work with this kid. Steer him to Wall St. and Goldman Sachs offices.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
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