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. american

    time to cut defense spending

    October 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why Why Why

      Time to spend billions on tanks, that would have stopped him...

      October 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dallas

    Again, like I've said before...bring back the labor camps. Put all proclaimed Jihadists who live in America in these labor camps - or just revoke their citizenships and send them back to the deserts.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nostrathomas22

      Just tell each one that's arrested that they can be released to whomever they want to call and then arrest whomever it is that comes down to the police station to get them. You get a two for one that way.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • phillman

      I've never thought to myself "Thats what America is missing, labor camps! I hope you are joking ,or being sarcasic, but you're probably not.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Why Why Why

    Islam, such a peaceful religion...

    October 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul

      Are you thinking about 35,000 dead Iraqi civilians when you say that?

      October 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    I am noticing a lot of comments vanishing from this thread. What are the mods so afraid of? Too many people calling this for what it is? Horse manure!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anti_Jihad

    Why do overwhelming majority of terrorists have "Mohammed" as a part of their names: Mohammed Atta (911 hijacker), Khalid Sheik Mohammed (911 mastermind), and now this terrorist is also a Mohammed.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • caesarbc

      Because this particular person was chosen to recruit by the FBI... which helps aid the misinformation and stereotype campaign supported by all Americans. If they tried to recruit a white homeless man named Harry, I'm sure he would have done it too.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      A lot of them like to rename themselves and slap that in there as part of their name.
      I guess its supposed to show committment or something, who knows.

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

      Exactly, probably because they are lying, they are the biggest thieves and liars. This is most likely some bs 'planted'

      October 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. caesarbc

    What are these sting operations proving? These are just poor people who are looking for three hots and a cot anyways. It's either this or smugling RxN across the border, outside of that – where are the jobs John Boehner!!??

    October 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anti_Jihad

      These sting operations are proving that allowing Muslim immigration to the western world is a huge mistake.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cw

    You obviously don't know how the legal system or surveillance / detainment works.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cw

    Yes, you are.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Taskmaster

    When they realized he was a terrorist they should have put a 9MM slug in his ear and dropped him in a sewer.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anti_Jihad

      No. Put him in a zoo. Charge anyone $10 who wants to spit on him. That will pay down the national debt in less than a year.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      IInhumane

      October 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Money is King

      Please do not cross the line of human rights abuse...this is why they hate us to begin with, and that we take all their oil and give them nothing but bombs. They are just misguided by our Republican Party that sends the message it is okay to step on anyone and everyone in order to obtain as much wealth as possible.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • tired American

      I'd spend the first hundred!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      LOL! GREAT IDEA!!!!!!

      October 18, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • CobblestoneyJabroney

      Best. Idea. Ever.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • ThinAir

      I agree, i would have rather just took a kbar and shoved it through his rib cage and then dropped him down a sewer. Let him think about it for a few minutes while he drowned in his own blood.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • bad2worse

      Ahhhhh-just like the good old days!

      October 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jill

      Fine by me.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      No. They should have done what they did – played him as long as they could without endangering the public, while pumping him dry of any information about other cells, facilities or plans he might know about.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miguel

      It was the FBI's idea and the FBI's supplies, this guy wasn't a threat until he was provoked and supplied by the FBI. They have a history of doing this. If you're interested in the validity of what I'm saying, check out the study UC Berkley and Mother Jones did about how teh FBI creates these terror plots.

      October 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • silent bob

      how can we be sure you aren't a terrorist.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • flatlandr

      I'm more of an ice pick guy.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElDestroyer

      Nah, I think this way is more fun

      October 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • arwyn7840

      Please! the sewers in nyc are bad enough.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • phillman

      Is that the kind of country you want to live in? No fair trial. What if someone falsely accused you of criminal conduct, wouldn't you want a chance to defend yourself? I guess you prefer Soviet style communism. I am worried for our future with psychopaths like you around.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott from NH

      Because you want the justice system here to operate kind of like it does in North Korea?

      October 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • darren

      put him in the sewer hole and let the rats eat him

      October 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • darren

      I AGREE 100%

      October 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tom

    Well done to the FBI and NYPD. Good job!

    October 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. HoneyPot

    Why would you ever believe word one from cnn or any other mainstream news outlet? These people are known liars and distorters of the truth, seriously, they support a communist regime, and they know we are being sprayed just like insects

    October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "These people are known liars and distorters of the truth"

      says the person that then goes on to talk about communist regimes and 'being sprayed just like insects'

      October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Errr...

    how dumb are these people...honestly...

    Screaming "fire" on a subway would do more damage.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ron

    The only place these terrorists can get explosives is from the FBI

    October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. thedUDE

    Loser

    October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Shawn

    It took 15 years for Russia to get out of Afghanistan. The territory is rough and no one knows that any better than the people who live there. Afghanistan is a hub of death and destruction for America or any country that attempts to stop the litteral terroism in that direct area. I feel as an American , we allow Israel to take care of that part of terrorism as we take care of the crude that is being put into out land by land and sea. They obviously break borders because many had or have rich families that were capable to have their wonder children educated here and prepaired for this exact reason. terrorism does happem by our own and their own in our country. I say we watch and care for this here and get our people out of the middle east because they will never quit and neither shall we . I say ,since they are determined to being their own wrath down [ like today ] we stayed tuned for more ,we know our country best and how to fight here . they don't. From now on any person in that region who decides to come over for "vacation" would be refused visa's and passport to any of our regions . enough is enough.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
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