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. Jimbo

    Wouldn't it be ironic that if in 2 weeks we find out that he was actually only trying to instigate a spontaneous protest.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    Ah yes... another fine member of the religon of peace.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. josh rogen

    I'm sure he was just having a spontaneous reaction to that u-tube video.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. adamcrazypants

    that's silly. if he had been a hard working and ambitious American he could have done way more damage to this country from the inside. oh wait.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maltheus

    The federal reserve is doing a good job destroying America on its own. Why would "al-Qaeda" try and stop them? This is the biggest BS story I've ever heard.,

    October 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • kerston

      Excellent response ! Finally some one that thinks rationally 🙂

      October 20, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Drew

    "I'm Barack Obama and I approve that message".

    October 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. EagleEye

    Another one bites the dust. Go FBI. This is the way to go by being proactive against the evil haters of democracy. Good vs. Evil. Good succeeds. God Bless the USA.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jack Straw

    what? No white house coverup? I bet Romney is furious...

    October 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BU

    Let's applaud the law enforcement for once instead of trying to spread blame and point fingers.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Spike

    If I was a fed, I'd beat the crap out of Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis as* whatever his name is.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Freedtoo

      Ya gotta love that name..........

      October 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. t3chsupport

    Ooh, a string operation, how exciting!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    This guys is only Quasi-correct that blowing up the NY Fed would harm the economy. Knyuck,Knyuck,Knyuck....I'll be here all week folks!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bella

    Always a pakistan.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sam

    This was a FBI-hatched plan with FBI operatives. They got some radical guy to string along with them. That's why they called it a string operation, instead of a sting operation. There's a huge difference. The FBI is just trying to justify its expenses and saying "see? we are keeping you safe!" But is it really? They are forming these terrorist plans, they are getting together all the tools necessary. Then, they go out with their FBI "informants" and try and find someone who wants to damage the country, someone who otherwise would have had no means to do so and is considered just a "tough talk" guy. Those who talk the talk but couldn't walk the walk. The FBI entraps them, in a so-called terrorist plan that THEY HATCHED THEMSELVES!

    Sorry, but this isn't news. Until the FBI actually catches a real terrorist and/or terrorist cell, without it being under the guise of an entrapment scenario, then I'll give them credit.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Cox

      Yes. It's the FBI's fault. And Obama's.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      Sam, some proof and facts would be nice...

      October 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • pooflingingmonkey

      You make a lot of assumptions. Most, if not all of them likely wrong.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC Johnny

      Best comment I've seen on here so far.

      There is a huge difference between the FBI catching up to a plot in motion, putting an end to it safely, and bringing the perpetrators to justice.... and what happened here. The details that have leaked thus far have proven an entirely different situation: one in which the FBI actually facilitated the plot and was the only reason the plot moved so swiftly and successfully.

      Not to take anything away from the FBI, as they clearly apprehended a bad set of individuals. But this plot wouldn't have gotten nearly as far without the "help" of the FBI. So we should feel that much safer.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • GAW

      Did you loose your tin foil hat?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveC

      Sam: What are the clouds like in your world? Are the blue or green? The reason I ask this is because you definitely must not be on planet Earth. One has to wonder how people like you come up with stupid theories like this.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      I never caught the Sting vs String thanks for that.... Is it possible this is just a typo???

      October 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • steadyon

      Sounds like Sam has a little too much knowledge about this caper. Maybe FBI should pay him a little visit too.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Spot on Sam. intelligence community has been cooking BS like this up for years now!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stone

      So when this talk the talk guy pushes the button to detonate the bomb, he isn't walking the walk?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Look you upset the propagandist Sam! You must have some truth to your comment if you riled up this many drones!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frog

      Okay, thank you Sam. Only after your cyberspace approval of the FBI will all of us here at CNN.com finally be able to go on with our lives being protected by the FBI. Please do hurry.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Redeye Dog

      I don't doubt that a lot of radicals come to this country thinking the same things but they just might like it here so much, they might just decide to assimilate if we gave them a chance..

      LOL!! I don't think so....

      October 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      This was absolutely an FBI made up "terror attack". For you people asking for evidence didn't read the article. It directly states in the article that FBI pretended to be al-Qaeda, gave him the plan and gave him the fake bomb. It's another budget grab, have to keep everyone afraid.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNN Reader

      Entrapment or not, the dumb terrorists are the ones who wear the vests and push the buttons while the smart terrorists hide in caves. This dumb ones are dangerous as well. It doesn't hurt to get them when you can.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Barry

    Why do we let these nuts into our country?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • keith

      Because we need more 7 elevens and Dunkin's.. And America Loves everyone..... Tell you what I Supervise about 40 mexican ( PEOPLE ). None of them are strapping on Bombs.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
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