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. smellarat

    Just curious....is this an "act of terror" by the Obama administration's standards?

    October 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brishty

    Terrible, Nafis,if he is Convicted with the Plot,we want him to Get Highest Punishment in The World. Whole World can see ,what is highest Punishment for him. He was killing so many Lives. Thanks to GOD all the time to Save so many Lives. Behind him somebody are there, we need to find those People before they Hide. I am Bangladeshi American Muslim. We don't Support those kind of Stupid !who kill People.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John Brantley

    FBI pose as Al Queda
    FBI recruit patsy
    FBI fund and provide wage for 6 months
    FBI provide van
    FBI provide phony bomb
    FBI drives terrorist to location and and give him device to try to detonate phony bomb
    FBI arrest man

    Now Americu is safe!

    October 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Muller

      You are correct man. this is what just happened.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Are you at all familiar with the concept of the sting?

      October 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. John Brantley

    As Judge Andrew Napolitano has asked, “Can the federal government take credit for saving us from a plot of its own creation?”

    CNN is a joke now, nothing more than a government/corporate mouthpiece.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris Maurice

    The Obama admin can use all of these fake plots sensationalism.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DareDevil

    just wann say, we can not judge a whole community by judging one person. whatever he has tried to do was his own choice.but one more important thing is, we have to find those accomplice who was above him. Hats off to NYPD and FBI.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    To keep our country safe. US should stop issuing student Visa to all Middle Eastern TERRORIST.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. Robert Muller

    This is a hoax. A setup. You can select any person / specially young ppl from poor background (from any smaller countries like Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Bangladesh, Syria, ...) and tell him that if he joins Taliban (or any terrorist) group and successfully destroys a target then he will be paid with good amount of money. This is what the undercover FBI agent did to the boy as a fake "Taliban agent". The boy, from a relatively lower income group background ate the bait and went for it. This is not success, this is misguiding everyone. We thought FBI was smarter. Are they reading more comic books now a days! Shame on us!

    October 19, 2012 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. LIPU

    I m from Bangladesh and just want to say,Bangladeshi people not that kind of but may b there r some terrorism agent to use our country people or south asian people so firstly remove them,who encourage that kind of people and make a peaceful world. And I must want to say if nafis will proved as a terrorist than must give maximum punishment to warn youth generation and also who want to destroy america or anywhere. As a human,we feel shame if we can't stop killing war.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • leo

      maximum punishment should be hours of torture on public tv, for acts of terrorism

      October 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brishty

      Yes ,we want who destroy America or killing people ,they need Punishment. But we need to Find out First, is he Convicted? Behind him somebody ? He is only 21. He is Guided by somebody . We need to catch those People. Torture is not Right Punishment, this is against the Law.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. MEME

    WHY DO WE LET THESE ALIENS IN OUR COUNTRY..

    October 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • peace lover

      bec this is not ur country

      October 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott from NH

      Why let aliens in?
      1 – We have way fewer foreigners here than Sydney, Toronto, Singapore, London, etc.
      2 – Attracting smart people from around the world gives us the next Google or Intel
      3 – Bringing people in from foreign countries enriches our culture, gives us new food, music, dance, perspective
      4 – 99.9999% of foreigners don't try to blow things up
      5 – We can ban foreigners but that wouldn't stop James Holmes (movie theater gunman), Wade Michael Page (sikh temple gunman), Ted Kaczynski (unabomber), Eric Rudolph (Atlanta Olympics bomber), Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma), Ted Bundy, etc.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • darren

      i agree with leo but i think put before a firing squad on national tv would deter a little more thought before they act.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. saywhat

    Sons of Islam everywhere, the jihad is a duty – to establish the rule of Allah on earth and to liberate your countries and yourselves from America's domination and its Zionist allies, it is your battle – either victory or martyrdom.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality

      Give him exemplary punishment, so that Sons of Islam forget about jihad.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ash

    Wow! CNN actually reported on real News. Now all they have to do is start reporting all the factual news. I haven't seen the poor mother of the navy seal who got killed in the Lybia attack. She can't get any information from the w
    white House and they wouldn't even let her see her son's body. As a mother I wouldn't be able to move forward without closure and President Obama and his team won't even give that to her.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anders Behring Breivik (King of the Island)

    Told you...they are all trouble!

    October 20, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. kerston

    I think it very odd that the FBI sets all these
    "terrorists" up and train, plan and even supply them with the supposed means for the job. Don't Americans question anything? A young man flunking out of school whose father gave up his life savings to send him for an education. Desperate much ? The seem to find the most vulnerable dupes. Also seems that have have an attempt just often enough to keep us all in touch with our fear and anger towards certain groups.

    October 20, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. PAJA

    soooo in other words, our government found some loser, gave him a fake bomb and set the whole thing up? ahh ook

    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
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